Secrecy Fosters Suspicion

Posted: February 25, 1986

The newly created Philadelphia Computing Corp., which ultimately will spend $46 million in taxpayers' money, got off to a very inauspicious start the other day: It conducted its first meeting in secret.

On the agenda was a proposal to give the head of the company a $25,000 pay increase, from $80,000 to $105,000. (The proposal was tabled.) The intended recipient of that pay boost is Eugene L. Cliett Jr, deputy finance director. Mr. Cliett was instrumental in having the meeting closed.

Such actions only fuel speculation that the decision to turn over all the city's computer operations to a nonprofit corporation may not be a sound idea. Council members have raised objections to the plan, including the large salaries for corporation officials.

Mr. Cliett intends to resign his finance department post and take over as chief executive officer of the corporation if Council approves the contract between the corporation and the city. Until Council acts on the plan, the corporation has no money to spend.

To his credit, Mayor Goode, on learning that a reporter had been barred

from attending the initial session, ordered that all future meetings be open to the public. While there is no legal requirement that the sessions be conducted in the open, it certainly is sound public policy.

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