As City Controller, my office will take tough stances every day to expose wasteful spending and to make government work for all the city’s residents and businesses. We have a long list of things to tackle, and at the top of our list are the following four:
Audit Every Department, Every YEar
The Philadelphia city charter requires the City Controller to audit every city department every year. I will do this with a focus on not just on rooting out fraud, but also on modernization and best practices, which I believe will enable savings of at least $10 million per year in general fund dollars that can be put towards needs of our communities, such as schools which are in desperate need of additional funding, or so that we do not have to raise taxes in the future.
The City Controller is a member of the Pension Board, overseeing Philadelphia’s pension fund, which is one of the largest fiscal challenges facing our city as it is currently only 45% funded. Making the issue worse is the city’s pension fund investment returns. With my background in financial markets, I believe I can play a strong role in improving the return on investments now in place, which will benefit both members of the fund as well as taxpayers. In fiscal 2016, the pension fund lost 3.17% of its value, a total of $149 million, while the market (S&P 500) only lost 0.13%. In fiscal 2015, the pension fund only had a return of 0.29%, well below the market average of 5.25%. While initial reporting of the pension fund’s fiscal 2017 returns are stronger, we need to ensure that strong financial management of investments is the norm, and I intend to play a big role in achieving that.
Diversity and Inclusion
I am committed to increasing the diversity of the city’s workforce so that it is more representative of Philadelphia’s population. Currently too many jobs are given to people who are friends or known by those in power, which is not good for our city’s residents and businesses, nor is it good for the operations and management of the city. I intend to ensure the Controller’s Office is a diverse and inclusive workplace and will focus on diversity in the review process for all city departments. .
I believe that the City Controller should take a more active role in the call for publishing data sets and releasing government information to the public. By making information such as expenditure data public, government transparency is increased, which undoubtedly will lead to savings as the public will be able to see for themselves how the city is spending money. I believe that such transparency will also build trust between government and the public. .