What’s the difference between an Act 47 coordinator and a receiver?

    Seeking a better understanding of Pennsylvania’s issues and proposed solutions? Sometimes, complicated jargon and concepts can get in the way. That’s why we started Explainers, a series that tries to lay out key facts, clarify concepts and demystify jargon. Today’s topic: Pennsylvania’s distressed communities law (Act 47).

    One in a series explaining key terms and concepts of Pennsylvania government.

    An Act 47 coordinator is, like a receiver, appointed to help a community determined to be distressed.

    But a coordinator is more like an outside consultant who can make recommendations, but has no executive power.

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    A receiver is more like an interim manager, who temporarily assumes some powers formerly held by city officials.

    Both the coordinator and receiver:

    Can hold private meetings between officials and creditors, Sunshine Law provisions notwithstanding.

    Cannot run for or hold elected office or another appointed political or government position during appointment and for a defined period afterward. Moratorium lasts a year for the receiver, and two for the coordinator.

    In addition, the receiver:

    Is a full-time position.

    Produces quarterly recovery progress reports posted to the municipality’s website.

    Can file Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy with state authorization.

    Can petition the court to amend the recovery plan and/or force officials to comply with it.

    Works with an unpaid advisory committee consisting of the municipality’s top official and governing body president; county commissioners’ appointee; gubernatorial appointee.

    Serves up to two years, unless the DCED successfully petitions Commonwealth Court for an extension.

    Must have a year’s residency in the Commonwealth and five working in business, finance or state or local budgeting.

    Has to follow ethics standards and financial disclosure rules.


    Did this article answer all your questions about Pennsylvania’s distressed communities law? If not, you can reach Emily Previti via email at emily_previti@witf.org or through social media @emily_previti. Have a topic on which you’d like us to do an Explainer? Let us know in the comment section below, or on Twitter @PaCrossroads.


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