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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Philadelphia is a city in Pennsylvania.

Public pensions

See also: Pennsylvania public pensions

The city's unfunded pension liability was $4.5 billion as of July 1, 2012. The city has shifted some workers to a hybrid system with 401(k)-style portion and given others the option of joining the new plan or contributing more of their own pay to stay with their current benefits.[1]

According to a recent report published at Northwestern University, Philadelphia is one of the ten municipalities with the largest amount of unfunded pension liabilities. Nationwide there is $574 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for local pension plans, and this is in addition to the $3 trillion in debt facing state-sponsored pension plans.[2] The report states that the pension plans could be out of money as early at 2025.[2]

Number of plans Liabilities, Stated Basis, June ’09 ($B) Liabilities (ABO), Treasury Rate Net Pension Assets ($B) Unfunded Liability ($B) Unfunded Liability / Revenue Unfunded Liability per Household ($)
Philadelphia (1) 9 13 3.4 9.7 290% 16,690

Public employee salaries

Emergency personnel

In 2010, the city awarded new contracts to firefighters. The new contract granted 9 percent raises and the city will continue to contribute $1,270 to each employee monthly for health care costs until December, when the union's health and welfare fund will switch to a self-insurance program.[3] Current firefighters will also continue to earn the same retirement benefits, but all new hires will have reduced pension benefits and a defined-contribution plan similar to a 401k.

The costs for the raises are estimated to be $67 million.[3]

Housing Authority

The Philadelphia Housing Authority has been collecting $200 annually from landlords participating in a subsidized housing program.[4] The money was given to Pennsylvania Institute for Affordable Housing Professionals, and was supposed to cover a mandatory one day training on how to be a good landlord, but instead the money was diverted towards lobbying and a general fund. In total the Housing Authority collected $300,000 from 1,500 landlords.[4]

Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed the Housing Authority records, and it is currently under investigation.[4]

Additionally, the former PHA executive director Carl R. Greene, was fired in September of 2010 by the agency board after he secretly settling three sexual-harassment claims filed against him. There are two other cases pending.[4]

Cuts
In 2011 Mayor Nutter proposed $16.5 million in cuts to housing agencies in the city, including $5.3 million in cuts to personnel due to a reduction in state and federal funding.[5]

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of Pennsylvania city websites
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Administrative Officials
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Transparency grading process

In 2011 Philadelphia earned a Sunny Awards for having a perfect website transparency score.

The good

  • Budget reports are posted.[6]
  • Council members are listed with contact information.[7]
  • Meeting dates, agendas, and minutes are posted.[8]
  • Taxes can be paid online.[9]
  • Local tax information is provided.[10]
  • City contracts and bids are posted.[11]
  • Ethics legislation and financial disclosure requirements are available through the city's Board of Ethics.[12]
  • Permits and zoning information is provided.[13][14]
  • Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports are posted.[15]
  • The city's Open Records Policy and contact information is posted.[16]
  • A searchable phone directory is available.[17] Administrative contact information can also be found within each department.

The bad

  • Direct contact information is not provided for the Mayor. Contact information for written meeting requests is provided only.
  • Does not disclose if it is part of a taxpayer funded lobbying organization.

See also

External links

References