Thursday, July 31, 2014
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Archive: July, 2013

POSTED: Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 4:30 PM

One of the best-kept secrets in City Hall these days, even after the fact,  is where Mayor Nutter took his summer vacation ­– a two-week sojourn that ended this week, just in time for the mayor to take questions on the explosion that destroyed three houses on Daly Street in South Philadelphia. At the end of a Tuesday briefing on the still-unexplained blast, Jan Ransom of the Daily News asked the mayor where he’d been.

His response: “I was spending some good quality time with my family --  I’m not going to tell you where --  and in regular communication with all the folks who also work in  city government. I’ve read virtually every one of your stories, stayed on top of what’s going on in the city. I appreciate the fact that you may have personally missed me. But I take my job very, very seriously and maintain my commitment to the citizens of the city but from time to time I actually do really enjoy some time with my family….Anything else? Thanks a lot…..”

Sounds like he needs  a vacation.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 10:54 AM

City Controller Alan Butkovitz is planning an audit of city demolition practices, on top of at least three other investigations already in progress after a deadly Center City building collapse last month.

The controller’s office sent a letter Wednesday to the city’s commissioner of licenses and inspections, Carlton Williams, saying it intends to audit “the policies and procedures” used by L & I and other city agencies to monitor both private and publicly-funded demolition projects inside city limits.

“The objective of this audit will be to evaluate the adequacy of the inspection and enforcement procedures pertaining to building demolitions, including the 300 demolitions the city reportedly inspected after the June 5, 2013 Market Street building collapse,” deputy city controller Gerald V. Micciulla told Williams.

POSTED: Monday, July 22, 2013, 1:58 PM

A coalition of labor leaders and politicians said Monday that they plan to collect enough signatures to put an initiative on the ballot requiring the mayor to seek Council’s permission before challenging an arbitration award.

The impetus for the move is the long-running dispute over arbitration awards given to Philadelphia firefighters and twice challenged in the courts by the Nutter administration as unaffordable. The two sides have begun meeting over the firefighters’ next four-year contract without ever solving the previous one.

Union officials in particular used Monday’s announcement to bash Nutter and signal the labor movement’s solidarity – especially in opposition to the mayor.

POSTED: Friday, July 19, 2013, 1:10 PM

In an opinion released Friday, Controller Alan Butkovitz called the city’s five-year financial plan “reasonable,” but cautioned about several assumptions made by the Nutter administration.

The plan will be up for approval later this summer by the city’s financial overseer, the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA).

Butkovitz particularly focused on the city’s assumptions for property tax collections, saying that estimating tax appeal losses following a recent citywide reassessment could be difficult, as well as predicting the success of promised improvements in tax collection methods.

POSTED: Thursday, July 18, 2013, 4:34 PM

Time magazine has published a cover essay from Mayor Nutter as part of a package addressing the aftershocks of the Trayvon Martin case.

In the essay, Nutter wrote that “Trayvon's story is only the latest in our epidemic of violence, compounded by race, that must be addressed in America.”

Nutter wrote about how African-American males are disproportionately victims and perpetrators of violence – in Philadelphia, about 75 percent of homicide victims are black males, as are 80 percent of homicide defendants.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 4:01 PM

Councilman David Oh told the Philadelphia Ethics Board Wednesday that he may introduce a bill this fall to end the rule barring city politicians from running for another office without first resigning.

The proposal ultimately would have to be approved by voters as a change to the City Charter and would not go into effect until 2016, after the 2015 mayoral election.

Oh’s plan would not allow an elected official to run for two offices at the same time – meaning a City Council member still would have to resign to appear on the ballot in the mayor’s race, since Council members and the mayor are elected in the same cycle.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 3:07 PM

Philadelphia is one of 13 “Showcase Cities” picked by Microsoft Corp. for special corporate attention to help the city adopt innovative technology – a theme at the “Innovation Summit” that Philadelphia hosted in May for the U. S. Conference of Mayors.

Mayor Nutter said Tuesday that the designation would bring at least three years of corporate attention and support from a “Microsoft Partner Network” of some 430,000 technology experts.

Preliminary brainstorming between city officials and Microsoft executives has identified five areas for the company’s support:

POSTED: Thursday, July 11, 2013, 4:23 PM

Hecklers saying they belonged to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union called Mayor Nutter “bozo” and “a joke” as he addressed the city’s new plan to battle poverty at the Free Library of Philadelphia on Thursday morning.

“You don’t care about poverty, you care about the 1 percent,” one of two persistent hecklers yelled in the echoing lobby of the library. Another shouted, “Give city workers a contract now.”

As members of the audience of around 250 people shushed the demonstrators, Nutter never stopped his remarks. Neither did he address the hecklers, who left soon after the mayor stopped speaking.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer's Troy Graham and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

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