Butkovitz wants lawyers' views on Nutter aides' pay

Posted: January 16, 2014

If 13 part-time city recreation employees were double-dipping by working for other government agencies, what about the deputy mayors with extra titles?

That is the question Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz wants the Nutter administration and its chief watchdog to examine.

On the heels of Inspector General Amy Kurland's finding of double-dipping and a Republican ward leader's published contention that top Nutter aides are in effect doing the same thing, Butkovitz said Tuesday he was launching his own inquiry.

He said he was requesting a legal opinion from the city solicitor on the "employment standing" of deputy mayors who have two titles - including Alan Greenberger, who earns $164,000 as director of commerce and deputy mayor for economic development; Richard Negrin, the $171,000-a-year managing director and deputy mayor for administration and coordination; and Donald F. Schwarz, who earns $164,000 as health commissioner and deputy mayor for health and opportunity.

"As indicated in the inspector general's recent investigation, employees who were working part time for the Recreation Department along with maintaining employment with the School District of Philadelphia were terminated" for violating the City Charter's ban on employees working for a second government agency, Butkovitz wrote in his letter.

He was referring to Kurland's Dec. 31 finding that 13 part-time recreation leaders had violated the ban by working for other government agencies while on the city payroll. They included 10 full-time schoolteachers, two U.S. postal workers, and an investigator for the state Attorney General's Office.

The 13 also were earning credit toward second pensions, Kurland said.

In an essay published in Sunday's Inquirer, GOP ward leader J. Matthew Wolfe contended that top Nutter aides were double-dipping. Wolfe, a lawyer who plans to run for City Council next year, pointed to the deputy mayors with additional titles.

Butkovitz, a Democrat, said Wolfe raised good questions, and the controller wants clarification from the city solicitor. "Do these deputy mayors have two jobs or one?" Butkovitz asked.

Kurland said she had already determined that the deputy mayors are not double-dippers. "That's a completely different situation" from the recreation aides, she said Tuesday. "Those deputy mayors receive one salary and one pension."

The charter says no one in an elected or appointed city post can hold another government job, be it city, state, or federal. Military service is an exception.

Wolfe also argued that the deputy mayors' salaries exceed caps in the city code, which limits the managing director's pay, for example, to $135,000.

Nutter's spokesman, Mark McDonald, said 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.

That's what Butkovitz said he hopes city lawyers can clarify. He asked them to reply within a week.

Meanwhile, Kurland is continuing her double-dipping probe. With 30,000 city employees, she said, it might take years.

She has requested the controller's help.



comments powered by Disqus