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Nutter Announces Plans for BRT Patronage Hires

Mayor Nutter today addressed the controversial issue of 76 patronage workers for the Board of Revision of Taxes who are paid through the School District so that they may do political work.

Nutter said those employees -- who mostly get their jobs through the recommendation of Democratic and Republican elected officials -- must be brought into the city civil service and will have to reapply for their jobs and take a written test. He said that others could apply for the jobs, but the positions would require experience performing real estate appraisals and assessments.

"These are somewhat specialized positions. I would want someone with some experience doing this kind of work," Nutter said, when asked if the job descriptions were purposely detailed to deter outside applicants.

Still, it is unclear that all the current workers will have jobs at the end of the process, which will likely take several months. Nutter said he could not promise there would be 76 jobs available.

The city has made a temporary arrangement with the BRT board to take over the property assessment functions of the BRT. The announcement today comes as part of the Nutter administration's review of the BRT operations.

The issue of the patronage employees has been a hot topic in City Council, as the legislative body works on legislation that would completely overhaul the BRT. That bill was almost held up last week at the committee level due to requests from members that the patronage hires be protected.

The BRT legislation – which, if approved by voters, would create an assessment body under the mayor's supervision and an independent assessment appeals board – is up for final vote on Thursday.