Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Nutter announces shakeup of top collections officials

Mayor Nutter on Wednesday named Thomas Knudsen as Philly's first chief collections officer.

Nutter announces shakeup of top collections officials

Mayor Nutter on Wednesday named Thomas Knudsen as Philly's first chief collections officer, a position the mayor created to deal with tax-collection problems across city government.

Knudsen gained a reputation as an effective crisis manager by guiding the School Reform Commission and Philadelphia Gas Works through periods of turmoil.

Nutter also named Clarena Tolson, formerly of the Streets Department, as the new revenue commissioner. She is replacing Keith Richardson, who will lead the Philadelphia Housing Authority's Development Corporation. 

Dave Perri, of the transportation and utilities office, will replace Tolson as head of Streets. 

The difference between the chief collections officer and the revenue commissioner is that the former will coordinate efforts across all city departments that collect taxes or fines (Fire Department, Licenses & Inspections, etc.), whereas the latter operates within the Finance Department.

The creation of the new position was based in part on a recommendation from FTI Consulting, which the administration hired to find spending and collections efficiency in city government. 

The city has faced widespread criticism recently for its abysmal record on collections after a recent Plan Philly/Inquirer investigation highlighted the city's difficulties with delinquent taxpayers. Elected officials have also complained about the city's collections rate which has been an issue as the city moves to a new property-tax system based on market values.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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