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POSTED: Tuesday, January 7, 2014, 9:48 PM

Frederick Wright will remain as the president of AFSCME District Council 47, delegates of the municipal union decided earlier this evening.

Wright unseated Cathy Scott in a close election in September. But Scott contested the results and the AFSCME governing body held a rerun of the election tonight.

The delegates for the locals of DC 47, which represents the city’s white-collar workers, chose Wright Tuesday night by an even larger margin than the first go-around vote, Wright said.

POSTED: Thursday, December 26, 2013, 3:43 PM
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (AP)

More than two years since the Nutter administration had a Policy Director, the mayor has appointed Maia Jachimowicz to serve in that role.

Jachimowicz has been with the Nutter administration since 2008 serving as the Deputy Policy Director. Under her new role, vacated in 2011 by now First Deputy Chief of Staff Suzanne Biemiller, Jachimowicz will be in charge of coordinating policy development with other senior administration officials. 

Since her promotion, Biemiller has continued the duties of Policy Director, said city spokesman Mark McDonald. 

POSTED: Friday, December 13, 2013, 5:09 PM

Mayor Nutter unveiled some shuffling among his senior personnel Friday, notably announcing that Thomas Knudsen, who was named to the newly created post of chief revenue officer in April, would be leaving the administration.

Knudsen, lauded for saving the Philadelphia Gas Works from the brink of bankruptcy during his decade-long tenure there, was appointed to the new post amid the rancor over the city’s effort to create a new property tax system. He was given authority over all city departments that collect taxes, fees, fines, or any other form of payment, and tasked with improving the city's traditionally dismal collection rates.

His responsibilities will pass to Revenue Commissioner Clarena I. W. Tolson, who was named commissioner when Knudsen came aboard. At the time, some Council members questioned the need for Knudsen’s position, since the revenue commissioner is responsible for collecting most of the city’s taxes.

POSTED: Thursday, December 12, 2013, 12:44 PM

UPDATE: Developers of the W Hotel and union representatives have reached a labor peace agreement that will allow the project to go forward. City Council reconvened at 2:20 p.m. and voted to approve tax breaks for the project by a 15 to 1 vote. Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. passed the lone vote against.

The tax breaks were the last piece of financing for the Center City development.

Developer Brook Lenfest emerged from a closed door meeting with labor leaders Thursday afternoon and said he felt as if he had "climbed Mount Everest." He said he was prepared to walk away from the project if Council had not passed the tax breaks Thursday.

POSTED: Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 7:18 PM

While snow pounded Philadelphia for the second time this week, Mayor Nutter was at the White House talking about how Philadelphia and other cities can be best prepared to deal with such storms. 

Nutter was invited to be part of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to advise the Obama administration on how the federal government can respond to cities experiencing extreme weather and impacts of climate change. The group's first meeting was Tuesday.

Storms such as the ones Sunday and Tuesday raise the question of whether Philadelphia is prepared to deal with such extreme weather, city spokesman Mark McDonald said. 

POSTED: Thursday, December 5, 2013, 6:25 PM

City Council unanimously approved Thursday to amend the land bank bill by naming the interim board and adding new provisions agreed upon by the bill’s primary sponsors, Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez and Council President Darrell L. Clarke.

The pair had been at odds in recent weeks over the number of approval steps for acquiring and disposing of vacant property as described in the bill. Clarke wanted more Council involvement and Quinones-Sanchez wanted as few steps as possible.

Ultimately, Clarke won. (Click here for the final version of the bill with new amendments.)

POSTED: Tuesday, December 3, 2013, 8:16 PM

The ping-pong ball that has become the land bank bill must be settled by Thursday morning if the bill is to be approved before council breaks for year next week.

Council President Darrell Clarke and Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who disagree on key elements of the land bank plan, have each circulated their proposed amendments for the land bank bill in the last few weeks.

Clarke wants more council oversight. Quinones-Sanchez, the bill's main sponsor, wants less (or the option of having less). 

POSTED: Tuesday, December 3, 2013, 12:52 PM

City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that would allow the School District of Philadelphia to sell advertising space on its buildings.

The only member of the Rules Committee to vote against the bill, Councilman Dennis O'Brien, said he was doing so because he thought the focus should remain on state lawmakers to adequately fund the school district.

Fran Burns, the district's chief operating officer, told the committee that the district was "supportive and cooperative" in exploring the idea but cautioned that passage of the bill "does not guarantee execution."

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