Saturday, September 5, 2015

POSTED: Friday, September 4, 2015, 3:11 PM
City Hall in Philadelphia. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Philadelphia’s overtime expenses increased for the fourth year in a row.

The city spent $159 million in overtime in fiscal year 2015, which ended June 30, according to the city’s fourth quarter report. The total spent was $37.6 million over what had been budgeted. 

Overtime as a percentage of wage and salaries has increased each year since 2011, hitting 10.6 percent this past year.

POSTED: Thursday, August 27, 2015, 10:14 AM
After reading the Controller’s review, Department of Licenses and Inspections Commissioner Carlton Williams called the statement by the inspector “ridiculous.” (FILE: TOM GRALISH / Staff photographer) (TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer, file)

As part of the city Controller’s Office ongoing investigation into the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections, the office found that overtime was prevalent within the department’s Construction Site Task Force.

The task force, which was created in 2013 following the fatal building collapse at 22nd and Market, spent a total of $130,000 in overtime in 2014, according to a review by Controller Alan Butkovitz. The overtime was used by 17 members of the 30-person task force, with one inspector earning $50,000 in overtime that year.

The recently completed six-page review mostly focused on the demolition contractor that was placed on a city master demolition list months after the illegal demolition of several properties. But Butkovitz said that while his office was looking through thousands of emails regarding the illegal demolitions in Fairmount, the office found emails sent by L&I supervisors implying that overtime was unlimited.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 19, 2015, 3:29 PM

The city awarded $23 million more in contracts to minority and female-owned businesses than last year, according to a study released by the mayor’s office Wednesday.

The Fiscal year 2014 Annual Disparity Study analyzes how many city contracts go to minority, women and disabled-owned businesses and the availability of the businesses in different markets.

The city awarded $267 million in contracts to the minority and female businesses representing 29 percent of the contracts for which such businesses are available, the Office of Economic Opportunity reported.

POSTED: Wednesday, August 12, 2015, 6:03 PM
Republican Melissa Murray Bailey and Democrat Jim Kenney.

Jim Kenney is ready for his closeup...as long as his is the only face in the camera's frame.

Kenney, the Democratic nominee for mayor of Philadelphia, had been haggling with NBC10 about camera angles for an upcoming debate, according to campaign spokeswoman Lauren Hitt.

Kenney was fine with close-ups and reaction shots but didn't want the television station to use a "one particular shot, a split-screen close-up" when he or Melissa Murray Bailey, his Republican opponent, were speaking, she said.

POSTED: Thursday, August 6, 2015, 11:00 AM

As I mentioned in today’s Inquirer, the city might have missed a few checks during its recent tax lien sale.

Aside from not realizing that certain properties, including the Fraternal Order of Police’s new headquarters, were under appeal, city officials also didn’t do a thorough check of who was buying the liens.  

One of the top five lien buyers at the June 29 sale was Julio Goncalves, a real estate investor who lives in the city’s Lawncrest neighborhood. He snatched up 16 liens for a total of $111,216. Goncalves, however, is delinquent himself on a few of his properties.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 4, 2015, 1:41 PM

A Philadelphia Special Pension Commission unanimously approved Tuesday a state-required analysis of the city’s pension plan.

The report, which was done by the pension board’s actuary Cheiron, compares the city’s pension benefits to six other cities and states — Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Pennsylvania. Those plans, Cheiron actuary Ken Kent said, are similar in size to Philadelphia’s, which administers retirement benefits for 36,152 retirees and 27,605 active employees.

“Our plan falls in the middle of the pack,” said Paula Weiss, executive director of the city tax review board who served on the pension commission as Mayor Nutter’s designee.

POSTED: Thursday, July 30, 2015, 5:38 PM
Jim Kenney speaks at the Broad Street Ministries lunch in Philadelphia on Wednesday, May 20, 2015. (STEPHANIE AARONSON/Staff Photographer)

If he is mayor, former City Councilman Jim Kenney likely won’t have his passport stamped as much as Mayor Nutter.

Kenney’s vision to get international business to Philadelphia includes expanding the port and airport, and not so much traveling overseas. The Democratic nominee for mayor stood before an international business crowd of about 200 on Wednesday night to share his ideas for bringing more jobs to Philadelphia.

“We need to get people working,” he told the crowd on the top of the South Broad Street Bellevue building Wednesday evening. “The port would bring job opportunities… pick up people out of poverty.”

POSTED: Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 11:08 PM
Sam Katz (left) and Bill Green. (Staff file photos)

Forget about a Sam Katz-Bill Green ticket for the Nov. 3 general election for City Council.

The two politicians said Wednesday night they have decided against registering their own political party to seek two of the seven City Council at-large seats set aside in the City Charter for a minority political party. Those seats, in a town controlled by Democrats, have been held for decades by Republicans.

Katz, who ran three times for mayor as a Republican, said he was "gratified that so many Philadelphians were so encouraging to me and that Bill Green, a dedicated and talented leader, wanted to team with me to create an independent party."

About this blog

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Chris Hepp, Tricia Nadolny, Julia Terruso, and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

Inquirer City Hall Staff
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