Irene shut down City Controller's office Monday

After Hurricane Irene blew through Philadelphia over the weekend, city government was open for business yesterday, with one exception - the City Controller’s office.

Employees in the Controller’s office were given a paid day off after Controller Alan Butkovitz decided he was concerned about the safety of his staff getting to work in the aftermath of the storm.

“There’s a lot of people who come to this office by rail. I have someone in a wheelchair. My thought was simply, I was worried about everyone getting there safe,” Butkovitz said. “The information that was coming out Sunday night and Monday morning was extremely fragmentary. Our decision had to be made by 6 AM (Monday).”

The cost of this day off to the city? $26,079, according to the Controller’s payroll calculations. But Butkovitz said that was worth it to not have an injury or an accident on his hands.

“Perhaps my sense on where to draw the line on risk benefit is much more than every other office in the city,” Butkovitz said. “I did not want anyone I’m responsible for to die or be in serious trouble.”

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