Should Mayor Nutter control PHA board?

    Philadelphia’s mayor says voters could hold him accountable if PHA doesn’t do a good job, but only if he has power over who runs the housing authority.

    Mayor Nutter made a case for reform in Harrisburg Thursday. Right now the Mayor appoints two of the five members of the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s Board. He wants more control of PHA.

    Mayor Nutter urged legislators to give him the power to name all or the majority of members of PHA’s board, and the authority to remove PHA board members. Other major city mayors have this power.

    Nutter says it makes sense to give him more power – and more responsibility – so voters can then hold him accountable for the Board’s performance.

    Zack Stalberg is the president of the watchdog group the Committee of 70. He says there are definitely hazards if the Mayor takes full control.

    “But on balance there are more risks when the Board is on its own or the Board is on the loose. And that’s what’s happened in this situation. So this needs to be fixed in some way. Perhaps one that does not give the Mayor quite as much authority as he would like but it needs to be fixed in some fashion.”

    PHA’s Board chairman, former Mayor John Street, appointed himself to the position before leaving office. The PHA board continues to search for a new Executive Director after firing Carl Greene from that post last month.

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