PICA postpones vote on five-year plan

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The Eiffel Tower rises from behind blossoming flowers and trees in Paris, France, Tuesday, April 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

The state board that oversees Philly’s finances postponed a vote on the city’s five-year fiscal plan yesterday, saying it is short-staffed and needs more time to review the document.

Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority board member Michael Karp, who is in Paris and was on speaker phone for the meeting, proposed the delay because he had not received the PICA staff report on the plan until late last week.

By law, the board is required to take “action” on the plan by Aug. 3, a month after Mayor Nutter’s administration submitted it. Apparently caught off-guard by Karp’s suggestion, PICA members reasoned aloud that requesting additional information from the city and postponing the vote constituted “action.”

They now intend to vote on Aug. 20.

The city could argue that if the Aug. 3 deadline comes and goes without a final vote, the plan has been tacitly approved. Finance Director Rob Dubow declined to say how the city will interpret the procedure.

Two of PICA’s four staff positions have been vacated recently. Executive Director Fran Burns left to become chief operating officer of the School District of Philadelphia. Director of Research Steve Camp-Landis then moved up to be acting director, creating another empty seat.

PICA board members sought additional information from the administration on issues including pension reform, labor contracts and School District funding.