Candidate Williams out of Controller's race

Michael Williams, an attorney and former minority-contracting official in the Street administration, pulled out of the race for city controller Wednesday and declared his support for incumbent Alan Butkovitz.

“Our city faces difficult decisions regarding Actual Value Initiative (AVI) property tax increases, labor contracting negotiations and streamlining or eliminating bureaucratic red tape,” Williams said in a press release announcing his decision. “Alan clearly shares my passion for all the issues that are important to me. I know that he is the only candidate who will make these issues central to his campaign.”

Butkovitz has been a strident critic of the property tax reassessments mailed out last month by the Nutter administration and spoke in March at a labor rally where Mayor Nutter was excoriated for asking the state Supreme Court for permission to impose contract terms on 6,800 members of AFSCME District Council 33.

Williams’ withdrawal leaves two other Democrats challenging Butkovitz’s bid for a third term – Brett Mandel, an aide to Butkovitz’s predecessor, Jonathan Saidel, and Mark Zecca, a former assistant city solicitor. The Republican candidate is Terry Tracy, a retailing executive.

Mandel said he didn’t think Williams’ withdrawal would have much influence on the campaign, because he has not been running against the other candidates, but for the cause of “bringing action and accountability back to the Controller’s office.”

Zecca said the withdrawal “boosts my campaign significantly,” by establishing him as “the only alternative to Butkovitz and Mandel.”

Butkovitz said he was pleased to have Williams’s support. “Michael has displayed a passion for helping Philadelphia’s working families and it is clear to me that we share that passion,” the controller said.

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