Philly Deputy Mayors, Police Chief Getting Paid More Than Charter Allows, May Be Double Dipping, Also Prohibited by Charter

City controller investigating


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Philadelphia may effectively be a one-party town, but it may not be completely bereft of intragovernment accountability, at least not when it may be politically beneficial. The Democrat city controller, Alan Butkowitz, who wants to run for mayor, is launching an investigation into the city's Democrat mayor, Michael Nutter, over why several of his top aides have multiple titles and are being paid more than the City Charter allows. The investigation picks up in part on allegations by Matthew Wolfe, a Republican ward leader, that the mayor's aides were effectively doing what the city's inspector general found 13 part-time city employees doing last month, double dipping.

Philadelphia's charter prohibits government workers from being employed by multiple government agencies, but the inspector general found thirteen workers for the city's recreational department were collecting salaries, and pensions, from other government agencies, ranging from the school district to the post office. Liberals are big on registering and listing people like gun owners, so it's surprising (or not) that Philadelphia doesn't have a master list of registered government employees that could prevent workers from defrauding the city by drawing multiple paychecks in the first place.

Neverthless, the mayor claims his aides are nothing like the 13 part-time workers (apparently mostly teachers working summers at a city rec center), because they only take the one paycheck and have the one pension. Even if true, the mayor's aides remain afoul of the City Charter, as it not only prohibits double dipping but also sets limits on how much those mayor's aides can be paid. That limit is below the generous salary officials like Alan Greenberger, the deputy mayor for economic development, and Donald Schwarz, the deputy mayor for health and opportunity, get paid. Those two, for example, get $164,000 a year. Via Philly.com:

Nutter's spokesman, Mark McDonald, said [Republican ward leader Matthew] Wolfe had it all wrong—that the deputy mayors have more than one title but just one salary. He said their pay is above the caps because of cost-of-living increases and "additional duties" assigned them.

Wolfe said there was "no way" cost-of-living adjustments explain Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey's salary of $261,375.

McDonald said Ramsey is both police commissioner and public safety director. "It's one job, one paycheck with multiple duties," McDonald said, arguing that two titles do not mean two jobs.

How are "additional duties" that mean more money in your paycheck different from a "second job"? Because they said so. Philly's double dipping prohibition, even with its problems in enforcement, is better than the situation in New Jersey, where double dipping is the norm. One New Jersey "public servant" was recently revealed to have landed his sixth government job, bringing his salary close to $300,000 a year. And nothing else happened.

h/t Dan Pearson