Friday, May 22, 2015

Reform group: Eliminate row offices to save money

Committee of Seventy leader Zack Stalberg Link: 'Seventy' calls for ending 6 row offices [Daily News]

Reform group: Eliminate row offices to save money

Committee of Seventy leader Zack Stalberg

Its report, titled "Needless Jobs: Why Six Elected City Positions Should Die," estimated that the city could save at least $1 million a year in salaries and perks now paid to the elected officials.

"We agree with Mayor Nutter that the fiscal crisis gives us a rare opportunity to significantly restructure the government," Stalberg said in a press release. "Smartly reassigning the necessary functions of the four offices to other city departments or to the courts will produce other efficiencies and cost-savings."

Of the six officials whose offices were targeted for elimination, only Register of Wills Ron Donatucci, a Democratic ward leader first elected to the post 30 years ago, spoke to the Daily News. He said that having an elected official in charge of his office makes it more responsive to the public, ranging from grieving or feuding relatives, to lovers seeking marriage licenses.

Both the public and other government agencies are pleased with the Register of Wills' operations, Donatucci said.

"If it's not broken, don't fix it," he said.

Seventy said the easiest post to eliminate would be the Clerk of Quarter Sessions, held since 1992 by Vivian T. Miller, a Democratic ward leader. All it would take is a vote by City Council.

Miller did not return a call from the Daily News.

Seventy said that elimination of the three city commissioners and the sheriff's job would require City Council to set up a public referendum on changing the City Home Rule Charter.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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