Archive: June, 2010
Mayor Nutter is expected to name his next managing director today.
John Baer provides the low-down on the state budget.
Officer Richard Riddick will be given the annual Fencl Award today.
Check out his press release here:
Butkovitz Finds Dangerous Conditions in Police Facilities Persist since 2006 Audit
Findings include numerous fire and electrical safety hazards, broken plumbing & on-going water damage
PHILADELPHIA – City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released the findings of his follow-up investigation into conditions at 23 Philadelphia police facilities, which found police personnel are still working in substandard and dangerous conditions; four years after Butkovitz released his previous report and recommendations.
All 23 Philadelphia Police Districts were re-inspected by technicians from the Controller’s Office. All police facilities were in varying stages of disrepair - a number of which were in need of immediate attention due to the direct dangers posed to police personnel and the public.
“It is unacceptable that the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect the citizens of this City are forced to work in these substandard, if not unsafe, working conditions,” said Butkovitz.
At more than half of the facilities, numerous fire safety hazards were found, including blocked exit doors and missing panic bars. The 12th Police District had a fire exit blocked by a metal grate.
* This story has been updated.
A City Council committee today approved legislation to close a pension loophole that will allow outgoing Managing Director Camille Barnett to buy into the system after just two years service.
Barnett, who is set to leave the city government June 30, can legally receive a lifetime pension of $49,880 if she pays $120,451 into the system. The perk is available due to rules that allow employees to count service in other municipalities.
Under the new legislation, proposed by Councilman Frank DiCicco, employees must serve for five years before they could buy into the pension program.
The Nutter administration supported the legislation, which must now go to full Council for final approval. Mayoral Spokesman Doug Oliver said Barnett has not yet decided whether or not she will buy into the pension.
*UPDATE: Oliver told us that Barnett has, in fact, paid into the system and will receive an annual pension of about $49,000. According to city data, she made a six-figure payment into the system on April 15.
Despite more grim budget news from the mayor’s office, City Council members today said they weren’t planning on considering any further tax increases to raise revenues.
“I think we passed a budget,” said Councilman Bill Greenlee. “We think it’s a responsible budget. Certainly at this point in time, I don’t see a change in what we do.”
As we reported this morning, the Nutter administration is now looking to make further cuts in the face of deteriorating tax revenues. A spending freeze has been placed on all money for equipment and supplies, and all departments face an additional 2 percent budget cut in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.
This comes on top of $20 million in cuts Mayor Nutter announced two weeks ago after City Council failed to act on Nutter’s proposed soda tax. Council did pass a 9.9 percent property tax increase, but Nutter said it would not provide enough revenue to keep the city afloat.
Councilman Jim Kenney also said he didn’t forsee more tax hikes to respond to the latest news.
“I don’t think it’s necessary,” he said. “I think we passed a budget that’s responsible. It’s the mayor’s right and authority to make cuts as he see’s fit. We do not require him to do it.”
Former Councilman Rick Mariano gives a prison interview to the DN.
More tough budget news for the city.
City GOP leaders using questionable tactics to minimize party insurgents.
The restaurateur who pleaded guilty to the hit and run death of Kayla Peter five years ago has been paroled.
Library advocates will rally in City Hall on Thursday against Mayor Nutter's plan to cut library hours as part of a $20 million budget reduction. Here's their announcement:
This Thursday, June 3, 9:15 AM, outside Room 400, City Council Chambers, 4th Floor, City Hall; then we’ll Rally in front of the Mayor’s Office on the 2nd Floor; Organized by the Coalition to Save the Libraries.
Last year, we all saved the libraries!!!, but the Mayor still cut $8 million - 20% of the library budget, reduced library hours from 6 to 5 days a week, and eliminated over 100 positions.
In the last year and a half, through 2009 and much of 2010, rolling closures remained the rule, due to a shortage of security guards and other staff and Library Director Reardon’s “rule of 4,” requiring that 4 people, including a guard, be present in every library, or else the library would be closed.
From October 2009 through April 2010, an average of 4.2 of the system’s 54 branches have been closed EVERY day, due to staffing or building issues.
Due to the rolling closures, in a 9-month period of fiscal year 2010, the number of visits by patrons to branch libraries was down 16% over a comparable period in fiscal 2009.
Police departments in New Jersey consider layoffs.
86-year-old woman shot while standing on her porch in Southwest Philadelphia.
Two killed in unrelated weekend shootings.
Broad Street Bully commiserates with Flyers fans.