Philadelphia Convention Center board voted 12-3 to replace chief Ameenah Young's administration with a private management company, then voted 13-2 to hire SMG of West Conshohocken over Comcast-Spectacor's Global Specturm to be that manager. Read Suzette Parmley's report at Inquirer.com here.
Montgomery County Commissioners chairman Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, joined Republicans and Gov. Corbett appointees in out-voting a small group of city representatives on the board, led by Heather Steinmiller, who say privatization won't fix the center's problems, including expensive labor.
Shapiro had history with both sides: his law firm, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young LLP, has represented SMG, while he counts Comcast executive vice president David L. Cohen as a personal mentor. Shapiro points out his firm also worked for Comcast, he reviewed his status with the Convention Center's chairman and counsel before the process, and he's just "of counsel" at Stradley, not an owner with a stake in the firm's overall business.
He says the majority's goal is to bring in more business and tourism for Philly hotels: "I've been on the board for a year. I've been working hard to change it. We can do better and bring in more shows. Moving to private management is a giant step forward in addressing some of the roadblocks to progress."\
UPDATE: From Shapiro's statement in support of privatization: