Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

State Rep. Calls For Annual Parking Authority Audit

State Rep. Tony Payton is calling on his colleagues in Harrisburg to support legislation requiring "more openness and accountability" at the Philadelphia Parking Authority. Payton's legislation, now circulating for co-sponsors to sign on, comes on the heels of an PPA audit obtained by the Daily News, the Inquirer and KYW Newsradio this week.

State Rep. Calls For Annual Parking Authority Audit

The Parking Authority strikes again.
The Parking Authority strikes again.

State Rep. Tony Payton is calling on his colleagues in Harrisburg to support legislation requiring "more openness and accountability" at the Philadelphia Parking Authority.  Payton's legislation, now circulating for co-sponsors to sign on, comes on the heels of an PPA audit obtained by the Daily News, the Inquirer and KYW Newsradio this week.

The audit, conducted by City Controller Alan Butkovitz's office and an outside accounting firm, is still in draft form as auditors and PPA staff haggle over details.  The final version is expected to be released in about a week.  The draft says the PPA is top-heavy with managers and disorganized with its money.

Payton's legislation calls for a much closer look at the PPA.  He wants the state Auditor General to have the power to appoint a certified public accountant to perform an annual audit of the agency, which would be published for the public to read.  The bill also requires a forensic audit to examine the PPA's policies on topics such as ticketing and parking sign language while comparing the agency to parking agencies in at least two other cities.

The PPA claimed during the controller's audit that the scope of its responsibilities -- parking enforcement, red light camera tickets, taxi regulation -- makes it unlike any other parking agency in the country.

UPDATE, 11:45 am:  Butkovitz, a former state legislator, notes that his office has been shedding auditors in budget cuts for the past 15 years.  The state didn't come up with the cash to pay for the PPA audit, even though Gov. Rendell demanded the financial probe back in the Fall of 2007 after a series of stories in the Daily News.  That meant other projects had to be delayed to fund the PPA audit.

"If people want those audits, fund us to do it," Butkovitz said.  "We would be happy to expand auditing, not only in the Parking Authority."

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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