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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: March, 2012

POSTED: Monday, March 26, 2012, 10:49 AM
Taking a page from Mayor Nutter, who established similar policies last year for city agencies he controls, City Commissioners Anthony Clark, Al Schmidt, and Stephanie Singer approved executive orders last week to prohibit sexual harassment and nepotism in their office.

Arguably, state laws already restrict sexual harassment and the hiring of family members by public officials or employees. But that didn't stop the commissioners' former chair, Marge Tartaglione, from hiring her daughter Rene as her top deputy, until Rene was bounced from the job by the city Ethics Board for continuing to engage in ward-level politics, in violation of the City Charter.

The commissioners' new rules say that no one in the office can play any role in hiring or supervising any immediate family member, including parents, children, siblings, in-laws, or "life-partners." The commissioners run the city's voting system as the Board of Elections.

POSTED: Monday, March 26, 2012, 5:41 PM

Running for office is always a risk if you are already a city employee, because you have to quit your job to do it. Democrat Bill Rubin, who worked in the commissioners' office for 25 years, made that leap when he ran against GOP Councilman Brian O'Neill last year and lost.

But Rubin, who has been doing consulting work for DC-33, the city's blue-collar union, has landed on his feet.

He tried to return to the commissioners, but that didn't happen, so now he is the new deputy director of fraud investigations for City Controller Alan Butkovitz.

POSTED: Monday, March 26, 2012, 5:28 PM

As endorsements go, this one wasn't exactly ringing. But an editorial from a newspaper written and produced by homeless people that cautiously supports Nutter's effort to end mass feedings on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway does seem like a small victory for the mayor.

In its most recent edition, the newspaper opined: "Mayor's sandwich solution could help nip homelessness, hunger."

Nutter has repeatedly denied that he wants to get homeless people off the Parkway to keep them out of sight of the tourists expected to mob the new Barnes Foundation. One Step Away's editorial board doesn't buy that.

POSTED: Monday, March 19, 2012, 2:55 PM

It's report card day at City Hall.

So far today, the administration has released 2011 reports for the Office of Inspector General and the Department of Licenses and Inspections.

The Office of Inspector General, headed by Amy Kurland, has saved the city $25.7 million in the past four years by rooting out corruption, fraud and waste, according to its report. The office has an annual budget of $1.3 million.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 2:38 PM

Inquirer reporter Troy Graham live tweets from the public hearing on Mayor Nutter's proposed budget at 6 p.m. at St. John's AME Church on 71st Street near Yocum.


POSTED: Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 5:08 PM

Mayor Nutter on Wednesday announced plans to end the feeding of large numbers of hungry and homeless people in city parks, saying he wanted to provide all of them an indoor meal.

The proposal is the latest volley in a long-running battle over how best to meet the needs of the city’s many poor people.

Free meals are served at several outdoor locations throughout the city, but one of the largest occurs on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, near the Free Library and Family Court buildings, where dozens and even hundreds gather daily for meals.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 13, 2012, 4:23 PM

T. Milton Street,  a former hot dog vendor, mayoral candidate and prison inmate who first got elected to the state House in 1978, will appear on North Philadelphia ballots next month with a shot at joining the legislature again.

Street submitted nominating petitions Monday with enough signatures to win an independent spot in the April 24th special election, to fill the House seat vacated by Jewell Williams, now the city sheriff.  Street’s candidacy is still subject to challenge, but he cleared the first hurdle by collecting more than 335 signatures and turning them in to the state Election Bureau in Harrisburg.

Street, 72, had initially sought the Democratic nomination for the seat but he gave up that race in favor of running as an independent, which could allow him to serve the remaining seven months in Williams’s two-year term. His special election opponents, chosen by the ward leaders of the respective parties, are Democratic ward leader Gary Williams, 57 (no relation to Jewell), and Republican Steven Crum, 50, an actor.

POSTED: Monday, March 12, 2012, 4:27 PM

Mayor Nutter’s budget address on Thursday was a raucous affair, with a gallery full of agitated city workers chanting, booing and shouting slightly menacing phrases like, “Get your hand out of my pocket!”

The city’s blue- and white-collar workers have gone nearly three years without a new contract and four without a pay raise.

They got pumped up even before the mayor entered Council chambers, thanks to a resolution introduced by Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. urging Nutter “to end the … stalemate and demands for contract concessions.”

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