Philly inspector general pushes to make office permanent

A measure to make the inspector general an independent office under Philadelphia’s city charter appears to be bogged down. 

Since the ’80s, the Philadelphia Inspector General’s office has operated by executive order of the mayor. Inspector General Amy Kurland says it’s time to make sure the office continues to oversee investigations of fraud and corruption — and the only way to guarantee that is to make the office independent.

“A new mayor could reduce the size of the office, could eliminate the office, could make it a political type office or even direct the agenda of the office,” Kurland said Tuesday.

Councilman Jim Kenney wants to put a ballot question to voters but said he doesn’t expect it to be ready in time for the fall general election.

“I mean, schools, schools, schools and schools are all we are talking about now,” Kenney said. “Before it was AVI, AVI and AVI — and that’s pretty much done. Now it’s all about schools and I don’t see any focus on anything in the fall except for the schools.”

No hearing has been scheduled on the bill and sources say there doesn’t seem to be any demand for one in the near future.

“The problem is we can’t get a hearing.  The next step that would happen is the Law and Government Committee would hold a hearing.  I would testify, anyone else would testify,” Kurland said. “If they voted it out of committee, it would go to council as a whole.”

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