Watchdog candidates fight for CONTROL

    The candidates for Philadelphia City Controller will gather for a roundtable discussion tonight to lay out their pitch for votes in the May 19th primary.

    The candidates for Philadelphia City Controller will gather for a roundtable discussion tonight to lay out their pitch for votes in the May 19th primary. The candidates are vying for an office with significant powers, including auditing the financial operations of the Mayor’s Office and City Council.
    Caption: City Controller Alan Butkovitz

    Listen:
    [audio: 090506lfdebate.mp3]

    The office of City Controller often draws politicians with an independent streak, who end up irritating other people in government.

    That’s according to Joseph McLaughlin, the director of the Institute for Public Affairs at Temple University. He says while the city controller can not directly change policy like the mayor can, the position does have some power.

    McLaughlin: The Controller in auditing departments and issuing reports can make recommendations as to how policy ought to be changed. Those recommendations generally get attention in the press and the relevant departments have to respond to in some way. So they have an ability to influence policy.

    Democrats in the primary include incumbent Alan Butkovitz and challengers John Braxton and Brett Mandell. Al Schmidt is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

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