Saturday, November 28, 2015

City Makes Some Hires Amidst Budget Crisis

As the budget crisis has heightened, the city has been withholding vendor payments and delaying paying tax returns to try to conserve cash. Earlier this week, 12 city workers lost their jobs.

City Makes Some Hires Amidst Budget Crisis


As the budget crisis has heightened, the city has been withholding vendor payments and delaying paying tax returns to try to conserve cash. Earlier this week, 12 city workers lost their jobs.

But still, some staffers have been added to the payroll in recent weeks. Since July 1, the city has hired seven people, with all but one making over $75,000. One name in particular caught our eye – Suzanne Biemiller, who was hired to a job in the Finance Department on July 6 with an annual salary of $122,600.

When we called the Finance Department to find out what was going on, we got a call back from the mayor’s Chief of Staff Clay Armbrister, who said that Biemiller was previously in a grant funded position at the Office of Sustainability and was hired by the city when that money ran out.

“She was held over to help with the transition with the sustainability office,” said Armbrister. “There was an exempt position [in Finance.] We put her there as a matter of convenience.”

Asked if he thought this hire looked bad, given the city’s tough economic position, Armbrister noted that Biemiller -- who previously worked for the Chestnut Hill Business Association and Pew Charitable Trusts -- was hired before the city announced plans to withhold vendor payments.

“We do still do have to run the government and make some tough choices about personnel,” Armbrister said.

Bielmiller’s salary is higher than that of the new Director of Sustainability, who makes $95,000, less a five percent pay cut.

If the mayor is forced to implement the Plan C budget, Armbrister said the city funding for Sustainability would go away, although he noted that the office may continue using grant funding. He wouldn’t say what would happen with Biemiller’s job.

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About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to
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