Candidate, the destroyer

    Today Philadelphia gets a second candidate running for an office she promises to try and abolish. John Kromer is already running for sheriff on a promise to do away with the job, and today Stephanie Singer announces her candidacy for the post of city commissioner, which runs elections in the city.

    The commissioner’s post (we elect three, actually) is one of the so-called row offices that reformers want to see eliminated as an elected position. Singer is on board with that.

    “Elections should control politicians, not the other way around,” Singer told me last night. “That’s why I will get rid of the elected commissioner and put Philadelphia elections in the hands of non-partisan professionals.”

    There’s a rich irony here.

    Because city commissioner is a post unknown to voters, winners of the office tend to be whomever gets the most backing from ward leaders, and it’s almost always one of their own. All three current commissioners are ward leaders.

    Stephanie Singer, now crusading for reform and abolition of the post is, believe it or not, a ward leader herself.

    Singer’s 8th ward in center city is one of those places where the committeepeople pay attention and make up their own minds, and she’s their representative to the Democratic city committee.

    She’s also a Ph.D in math who’s set up her own website called Campaign Scientific where you where you can find complete city election returns for every voting division going back to 2002.

    Singer couldn’t actually abolish the commissioners just by getting elected. That would require an amendment to the city charter, which would need action by City Council (whose members count on ward leaders, too) and the mayor.

    In other reform news, Mayor Nutter is set today to issue new executive orders dealing with nepotism, sexual harassment, acceptance of gifts and outside employment among city employees.

    In non-reform news, former Governor Ed Rendell is joining the power law firm of Ballard Spahr, from whence he came before going to Harrisburg and where he has many friends. Ballard said Rendell’s “practice will focus on public-private partnerships and issues relating to infrastructure, energy, the environment, health care, and higher education.”

    Translation: He will be a rain-maker, bringing well-paying clients and government business to the firm.

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