There's still no mayoral business advisory panel

Posted: March 30, 2001

Mayor Street showed this week that he can act with a speed that even the Sixers' Allen Iverson would applaud: He named a panel to examine police discipline just two days after a scandal broke over a police cover-up.

But when it comes to creating a business advisory panel to help grow the city's economy, the mayor has not been so quick to act. In fact, he hasn't acted at all.

It's now 30 days - and counting - past the date the mayor promised to appoint that panel.

Mayoral spokesperson Luz Cardenas said the administration would name the panel within the next "five to 10 business days."

Asked why the process was taking so long, she said: "We're taking our time in order to select the right individuals to be involved with this unique and important advisory council."

"It's not going to be a large group," she added.

On Feb. 7, in a speech before the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Street said he would appoint a "Council of Business Advisors" before March 1. The mayor said he wanted to work "with the best scholars and business leaders in the region" to help him "explore the issues of tax policy" in the city and how it impacts job creation.

Street also said he would use the council as a vehicle to meet with business leaders at least four times a year to discuss issues informally.

The business group is in addition to the New Economy Development Alliance that Street said he would form. He has already named several board members to that high-tech advisory group, including the chair, University of Pennsylvania president Judith Rodin.

The business group is a separate matter.

"I know he's working on that," said Charles Pizzi, president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. He said he had not talked with the mayor about who should be on the panel, or when it would be appointed.

Asked why not, Pizzi said he had a conversation with a person - whom he would not identify - that Street has asked to chair the group. "So, I assumed it was moving along," he said.

Neither Cardenas nor city Commerce Director Jim Cuorato would confirm that Street has a chairman in mind. *

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