Controller candidates square off

    The four candidates for Philadelphia City Controller met in a debate last night at the National Constitution Center.

    The four candidates for Philadelphia City Controller met in a debate last night at the National Constitution Center. The chief topic was how the watchdog position can save money in these tough economic times.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090506tmdebate.mp3]

    Incumbent Alan Butkovitz met up with Democratic challengers Brett Mandel and John Braxton, as well as Republican candidate Al Schmidt. They talked about how a controller who isn’t afraid of sacred cows can find much needed money at a time when the city faces tax increases.

    Mandel and Butkovitz squabbled over how quickly audits can be completed.

    Mandel: The controller’s office has completed not one departmental audit for fiscal year 2008, only a handful for 2007.

    Butkovitz: What Brett hadn’t told you that when he worked at the controller’s office he was on the same schedule. I’m going to have to take some time.

    Mandel: This is why we have to hire me as the boss so I can take over and do it right.

    Braxton called for an end to the 10 year real estate tax abatement, calling it a luxury. Schmidt says he wants to audit the abatement and DROP retirement program to see if they are saving money, or costing the city.

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