By Brian Saunders TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
This was originally published by the Philadelphia Tribune on Jan 6, 2022.
“As we’re moving into this new year, my office will continue with work around gun violence,” City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart said. — TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO
TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO/ ABDUL R. SULAYMAN
After being sworn in to begin her second term as Philadelphia city controller, Rebecca Rhynhart is looking forward to building on the audits and projects her office worked on during her first term and introducing new projects to help the city.
“For the last four years, it has been my tremendous privilege to serve as the city controller of our city, pushing for change and standing up for what’s right,” Rhynhart said in a statement. “To the people of our city — I want to thank you for believing in me and for your confidence as we fight for the Philadelphia we all deserve.”
Rhynhart said she wants to build on her office’s work over the past few years. At its core, the controller’s office work is financial audit-related; however, Rhynhart has invested in projects beyond finances. She has also looked at ways to stop gun violence, improve trash collection and revamp poor prison conditions.
“So as we’re moving into this new year, my office will continue with work around gun violence,” Rhynhart said. “We’re working on analyzing trends and clearance and conviction rates right now, and we also are doing a special audit of police spending this year.”
At the recommendation of City Council, Rhynhart will audit the Philadelphia Police Department’s operational resource deployment compared to some of the best practices in other cities. In addition, Council has requested they be given a better understanding of how the department’s $750 million budget is allocated.
“The way that my office is embarking upon that is to give taxpayers more information on how that money is spent,” Rhynhart said. “And then also, are there areas that we need to improve, and what are those areas and best practices from other places?”
Finding the best practices so that the entire city feels safe is the goal, Rhynhart said. Historically, that has not been the case, she said, and it’s time to reimagine policing in the city to model cities with success.
Since 2019, Rhynhart has been lending her ideas to the gun violence crisis in Philadelphia. That year, she released a report that showed what cities such as New Orleans and Oakland had done to decrease the number of homicides and overall illegal gun activity.
Rhynhart said she will continue working toward solutions in 2022 after the deadliest year on record.
“I believe strongly that much more needs to be done in the communities most impacted by this violence and that the mayor needs to do more than he’s doing,” Rhynhart said. “If you look at Philadelphia, there are 14 ZIP codes out of over 40 where the violence is mainly occurring. So we want a partnership with the mayor to say that there needs to be more done.”
The Controller’s Office has an interactive mapping tool that charts gun violence in Philadelphia. Rhynhart said she is always looking forward to keeping the attention on the issue and developing more data in the database.
“My office will be doing more mapping work and more work around getting information to the people,” Rhynhart said. “I strongly believe that the more information that government gives to the people, the more the trust develops.”
Other projects Rhynhart and her office are working on this year include:
An operational audit on the sheriff’s office.
A special review on the medical examiner’s office of the morgue and their operations.
Financial analysis on the budget and the stimulus money coming to the city.
This story was originally published on January 6, 2022 and you can ready it by clicking here.