Watchdog Group Recommends Eliminating Some Row Offices

Government watchdog group Committee of Seventy today released a report calling for the elimination of some longstanding Philadelphia "row offices" -- the independently elected positions of Clerk of Quarter Sessions, Sheriff, Register of Wills and the three City Commissioners.

“We agree with Mayor Nutter that the fiscal crisis gives us a rare opportunity to significantly restructure the government,” said Seventy President Zach Stalberg in a press release.

The report is titled "Needless Jobs: Why Six Elected City Positions Should Die."

Mayor Nutter last year said he was reviewing the need for those offices in light of the city's budget crisis. To get rid of them, he would need City Council to approve legislation for a ballot measure to change the city's Home Rule Charter. Voters would then have to decide.

Seventy argues that the responsibilities of those offices could be reassigned to other city departments or the courts. The report says that just eliminating the salaries and benefits of the six officials in those offices would save $5 million over five years.