Archive: December, 2011
Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco is retiring Friday, but only so she can collect a $478,057 pension check and return to work Monday, when she will be sworn in for her seventh term.
Tasco was one of six Council members to enroll in the city’s controversial Deferred Retirement Option Plan, better known as DROP. She did not immediately return a request for comment.
Plan participants trade a lower lifetime pension for a large one-time lump sum payment, but they are supposed to retire when they get that check.
For much of the city's history, there were no limits on picking up the tab for an elected official's inaugural party. But after City Council last year amended campaign-finance laws, fundraising for inaugurations became subject to contribution limits.
No one spent much time trying to figure out what the rules meant until the last month or so, because Monday is the first inauguration since the law was passed.
Among the people asking the city's Board of Ethics about how to interpret the law was Richard Hayden, a lawyer for Mayor Nutter's Political Action Committee.
Don't look for incoming City Commissioner Stephanie Singer to back away from controversy.
On Thursday, she called the voter ID bill being considered in Harrisburg "hogwash from top to bottom." Actually, she first called it that on Tuesday when she called in to WHYY's Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane. The show's guest was Carol Aichele, the Republican Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, who backs the bill.
Singer, who as City Commissioner will oversee Philadelphia's elections, said poll workers already verify voters' signatures. Requiring ID, she added, would only cause many people not to vote.
What to get Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez and her husband Tomas Sanchez for the holidays?
How about his and hers political donations?
That would be jumping the gun, but only a little. Tomas Sanchez confirmed confirmed via e-mail that he is “seriously” considering a run for the state house in the newly redrawn 197th district.
Councilman Bill Green wants to get rid of the School Reform Commission to give more control to successful public schools and to give the state more say at those that are failing.
As a Council member, Green, has little say over the school district. But he is expected to run for mayor in in 2015, and if he won, he would have a lot of control over city schools.
It's not often you see "Department of Human Services" and "excellence" in the same sentence, but on Monday, those words appeared together.
The Casey Family Programs, a national foundation focused on foster care and improving the child welfare system, gave DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose a Casey Excellence in Leadership Award.
The awards, in their first year, recognize distinguished work, leadership, and dedication to improving the child welfare system.
Troy Graham @troyjgraham on Twitter
Darrell L. Clarke, the presumed Council president when the new legislative session begins Jan. 2, hosted his future colleagues -- including the six newly-elected members - for a steak lunch at Capital Grille on South Broad Street Wednesday.
Clarke described the private meal merely as "an opportunity for the 2012 class to meet" and bond, and said no official business was discussed. Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown said before the lunch that the end-of-term gathering had been a somewhat regular tradition under outgoing President Anna C. Verna.
Brown, slated to become majority whip, also said that members were warned beforehand that items such as budgets and committee assignments were off the menu of discussion -- "They were surprised to hear that," she said.