Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

PICA: Eliminating Some Row Offices Could Save $15 Million A Year

Does Philadelphia have too many independently elected officials?

PICA: Eliminating Some Row Offices Could Save $15 Million A Year

Does Philadelphia have too many independently elected officials?

A report released today by the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority -- a state agency that oversees the city budget -- recommends shedding four of the city's "row offices" for an estimated annual savings of $13 to $15 million. Those offices are the sheriff, register of wills, clerk of quarter sessions and the city commissioners.

The PICA report argues that there is no clear benefit to having elected officials overseeing those government functions and says the structure just creates more bureaucratic expenses. PICA says that the services provided by those offices could be absorbed by other offices or the city court system.

"The functions of government should be organized on the basis of efficiency and effectiveness, not on the basis of an inherited centuries-old structure," the report reads.

In 2005, voters in Allegheny County — which includes Pittsburgh — approved a plan to get rid of the clerk of courts, coroner, jury commissioners, prothonotary, recorder of deeds and register of wills. The offices were consolidated and elected officials replaced with three appointed posts, for a savings of over $1 million and reduced political influence in city government.

To read the full PICA report, click here.

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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