Reform group sees opportunity in recession

    A watch-dog group is calling for a series of reforms of Philadelphia city government. The report issued Tuesday says the city needs to reform and in some cases abolish certain agencies, boards and authorities.

    A watch-dog group is calling for a series of reforms of Philadelphia city government. The report issued Tuesday says the city needs to reform and in some cases abolish certain agencies, boards and authorities.

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    [audio: 090915spseventy.mp3]

    “Tackling True Reform,” put out by the Committee of Seventy, says the time is ripe for implementing changes that reformers have been advocating for years. The Committee’s executive director Zach Stalberg says the recession could create the right atmosphere for change.

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    Stalberg: It’s also a time when people are willing to give up on old beliefs and start exploring doing things differently. When things are good, no one wants to make any changes.

    Stalberg admits that in a one-party town, some of these proposed changes face strong political opposition. He says the elected row offices, which include the City Commissioners, the Register of Wills, the Sheriff, and the Clerk of Quarter Sessions, are staffed with patronage employees and cost millions of dollars. Abolishing row offices would require a charter change.

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