Archive: December, 2009
Here's the release. More to come...
Philadelphia, December 16 – The City of Philadelphia announced today its intention to purchase the existing wireless network assets from the Network Acquisition Company (NAC), the first in a series of steps towards creating a multi-purpose public safety and municipal wireless network that will improve government operations as well as providing free internet to citizens in targeted public spaces. The City is exercising an option, contained within an agreement signed in August 2009, to purchase the assets from NAC for the low price of $2 million.
“Acquiring these assets is a major step forward for the city,” said Chief Technology Officer Allan Frank. “With this investment we will have the capability to build a robust public safety and municipal network, enhancing public safety and government operations, at the same time as achieving long-term savings for the taxpayer. This is a win-win for Philadelphia.”
With the build out of this network the City of Philadelphia will be a national model for how to operate and economically leverage a broadband network for the benefit of its citizens. Over the next several years, improvements will be made to the network to support the following:
Although it has seemed for weeks that Philadelphia lost the fight to keep the 2010 Dad Vail regatta, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady says not so fast. His office this morning issued a news release saying that the Dad Vail does not, in fact, have all the guarantees it purported to have to move the race to Rumson, N.J.
Here's the press release from Brady:
PHILADELPHIA ---Congressman Robert A. Brady (D., PA) today asked Mayor Michael Nutter to grant the Dad Vail Organizing Committee’s (DVOC) request to hold open the 2010 Dad Vail date in light of publication of a Letter of Understanding signed by the Borough Council of Rumson and the Dad Vail Organizing Committee (DVOC) showing that the DVOC has overstated its relationship with Rumson and the commitments Rumson has made to it.
Brady said, “In November the DVOC informed Philadelphia that it was moving to Rumson because Rumson had put up $250,000 for the event and promised to lower costs. Their representations led the Daily News to headline its story (November 14, 2009): N.J. town puts $ behind its offer to host regatta. The Philadelphia Inquirer (November 19, 2009): “It was an offer the Dad Vail Regatta could not refuse, and one that the cash-strapped City of Philadelphia could not hope to match: $250,000 in guaranteed donations, and sharply lowered operating costs to boot.”
As reported in this morning's Inquirer, Mayor Nutter has just announced Richard Negrin as his choice for interim executive director of the Board of Revision of Taxes.
Nutter also laid out his plan for dealing with the roughly 80 patronage employees now working as at the agency, saying it was his view that they must move off the School District payroll and become city workers, thereby making them ineligible for political activities, such as being a ward leader or campaigning for local candidates.
In order to keep their positions, the BRT clerks will be subject to what Nutter described as an open civil service exam.
The catch, and it is a big one, is that only employees who have experience working as clerks in government property assessing agencies will be eligible to sit for the test.
A City Council committee this morning approved 12-1 sweeping legislation that would abolish the embattled Board of Revision of Taxes, and replace it with a property assessing agency under the mayor's supervision and an independent appeals board.
The vote, which was widely anticipated, sets the stage for final approval in City Council on Dec. 17.
There was no public testimony, and - apart from BRT workers who fear they may lose their jobs - there appears to be no organized opposition to the reforms, which come in the wake of an Inquirer series that exposed widespread mismanagement, inaccurate assessments and possible corruption at the agency.
Yet the vote was nearly derailed by council hand-wringing over the fate of over 80 patronage workers at the BRT who are currently paid off the School District payroll to skirt city rules banning political activity by city employees.