Archive: June, 2009
Alan Greenberger, the Executive Director of the City Planning Commission, will, at least for now, be replacing Andy Altman as the city's acting Commerce Director and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. The release is below.
Philadelphia, June 30, 2009 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced today that Alan Greenberger will serve as Acting Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and Commerce Director. Mr. Greenberger will retain his responsibilities as Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. Mayor Nutter also announced that Kevin Dow, Deputy Director of Commerce for Neighborhood and Business Services, will serve as Acting Chief Operating Officer of the Commerce Department.
“Alan Greenberger is the perfect person to provide stability and continuity for Philadelphia’s planning and economic development during this transitional period,” said Mayor Nutter. “Kevin Dow has provided critical leadership in the reorganization of Commerce and the creation of the new Office of Business Services.”
So if you see Mayor Nutter today, wish him a happy birthday. He's 52.
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With the city's municipal labor contracts set to expire at midnight tomorrow, a new report was released this morning on the critical state of Philadelphia's pension fund and challenges resulting from high employee health-care costs. It states that total spending on pensions and health care is now at $830 million, and will rise to almost $1.1 billion by 2013.
The report is a follow up to one released early in Nutter's term, and was funded by the same organization, Pew Charitable Trusts.
Among the findings highlighted in the press release is that the city's pension fund has less than half the money needed to meet its obligtation to past and current city workers - a situation that is not new.
City Hall will have to pay a high price if state lawmakers drag out Pennsylvania's budget battle past Aug. 1.
The precise amount: About $9 million a month.
Figure that if lawmakers approve the 1-cent increase in Philadelphia's sales tax that the Nutter Administration is seeking, it would generate an extra $100 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1. But knowing that the state budget in recent years has not been passed on time, Nutter officials, and City Council, didn't actually count on collecting the extra sales tax cash til Aug. 1.
6/29/2009 Correction: Hoax! It turns out City Hall is a completely Twitter-free zone. Mayor Nutter does NOT have a Twitter account, but there is somebody posing as him on Twitter. Unlike lots of other impostors, this phony didn't post anything wildly controversial or strange. Instead the tweets were benign and plausible-sounding messages such as "Happy Father's Day to all" and "Be sure to check out our terrific parks systems on a day like today." Regardless, Mayor_Nutter is not in fact Mayor Nutter. Heard In City Hall really, really regrets this idiotic error.
The incorrect original post follows:
In Washington D.C., Twitter has quickly become an obsession of the city’s political elite. Senators and representatives use the service to live-tweet sessions of Congress, respond to constituents, make the case for their positions and so on. Lobbyists and non-profits tweet to drive their messages.
For just the second time, city negotiators are discussing a new labor deal with AFSCME District Council 47.
The two sides were meeting this morning at the Sheraton in Center City, and while there is no expectation that today's talks will yield significant progress, it is a sign of movement nonetheless.
DC 47's contract expires Tuesday, June 30 - along with the contracts held by District Council 33, the police and the fire fighters' unions.
As Mayor Nutter made the rounds in Harrisburg Tuesday, continuing his lobbying campaign in support of the city $3.8 billion budget plan, he is being trailed.
Al Schmidt, the Republican candidate for City Controller, has been shadowing Nutter with stops of his own, to argue that Nutter and City Council have not made enough cuts in the city budget before coming to Harrisburg to ask for favors. Nutter is asking the the legislature for changes to the pension plan and the authority to increase the sales tax from 7 percent to 8 percent. Nutter's budget also calls for a two-year delay in contributions to the pension plan -- essentially a loan -- that also requires legislative approval.
"This is no different than borrowing money to pay operating expenses with a promise to pay back with future tax revenue," Schmidt said in a Power Point presentation made to Senate Leaders including Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, (R., Delaware), Majority Whip Jane Orie (R., Allegheny), and Sen. John Rafferty (R., Montgomery). "This is NOT good government."
A ban on the use of traditional plastic bags by retail stores failed in City Council today under pressure from the business community and the plastics industry.
Councilman Frank DiCicco's bill was rejected by Council this morning in a 6-10 vote. Council President Anna C. Verna, whose husband was buried yesterday, was absent.
The bill would have prohibited stores from using plastic bags that are not biodegradable or cannot be composed. Most bags currently in use are simply reclyclable; they do not meet the standard and would have to be replaced by the alternate plastic bags, paper, or reusable bags. Industry opponents said the plastic bags would force many stores to use paper, which has an even greater environmental impact, they said.