What about top-level home-rule double-dippers?
Philadelphia's inspector general, Amy Kurland, recently announced the results of an investigation that led to 13 city employees being fired from their part-time jobs.
Section 8-301 of the Home Rule Charter forbids most city employees from holding another office or "position of profit" with the city or another government agency. The 13 employees held two government jobs, which Kurland referred to as double-dipping. One example was a School District teacher who also worked part time at a city recreation center. None of them was accused of not working both jobs, just violating the charter.
Some of the employees held both jobs for years, reporting them as required. Doesn't matter, says Kurland. "Our job is to discover situations where the rules and regulations are not being followed," she said, "and these are one."
Kurland is not done. She asked crusading City Controller Alan Butkovitz to assist in conducting a citywide audit for other violations of the charter. He should have plenty of time to do that, since he admits he does not perform the yearly financial audits of every city agency that the charter requires he perform. Maybe that could be the first violation of the charter that he can "find."
I, too, am a stickler for the rules. I may not have the investigative resources of the inspector general, but I am always willing to step up and help the city I love. The inspector general found 13 employees. I wondered what I could find. I proceeded to conduct an exhaustive investigation to see whether I could find any employees holding down two city jobs.
Well, in the interests of full disclosure, the search was not all that exhaustive. I just went to the city website: www.phila.gov.
I found one quickly: Richard Negrin, the managing director. He also holds down the job (with a separate salary - remember the charter language of "position of profit"?) of deputy mayor for administration and coordination. Then I found another: Alan Greenberger, the director of commerce. He is also the deputy mayor for economic development. And then there was Donald F. Schwarz, the health commissioner. He is also the deputy mayor for health and opportunity.
Continuing my investigation, I found that Philadelphia magazine reported in July that Managing Director Negrin was earning $171,000 a year, and Director of Commerce Greenberger and Health Commissioner Schwarz were each earning $164,000.
The Philadelphia Code states that the maximum Managing Director Negrin and Director of Commerce Greenberger can earn is $135,000, and the maximum Health Commissioner Schwarz can make is $120,000. Doing the math, that means, in their other city jobs, Deputy Mayor Negrin makes $36,000, Deputy Mayor Greenberger makes $29,000, and Deputy Mayor Schwarz makes $44,000.
Mayor Nutter is all-in. After the firings of the 13 city workers, he said: "Every city employee must follow the rules and be held accountable when they do not. I am pleased that the Inspector General's Office is stepping up enforcement of this charter provision and ensuring that it is being applied fairly and consistently across city departments."
Wait until he finds out about his managing director, health commissioner, and commerce director. Heads will roll. Who could have made appointments to such high-level positions in obvious violation of the Home Rule Charter?
Oh, that's right. It was Nutter himself who made the appointments.
In fact, he did it to try to get around the violation of another charter provision that sets the maximum salaries for each of those positions. What he ended up doing was violating two sections of the charter.
How exactly have Kurland and Butkovitz failed to find these violations hiding in plain sight? I trust that the Office of Inspector General and the Office of the City Controller will forthwith make certain that each of these officials is stripped of one of his "jobs" and that action will be taken to recover the money that each was obviously not entitled to by law.
Firing the 13 "double-dippers" is the right thing to do. It's the law. However, unlike the double-dipping 13, Nutter's double-dippers grab two salaries with the full knowledge that it is a charter violation. Nutter flagrantly and arrogantly violates the charter, and then hypocritically treats the recreation center employees differently than deputy mayors, maintaining that the charter "is being applied fairly and consistently across city departments."