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PICA picks Harvey Rice, of Controller's Office, as director

The state board that oversees Philly's finances on Tuesday unanimously selected Harvey Rice, the city's first deputy controller, as its new executive director.

Rice, who has worked for Controller Alan Butkovitz for eight years, will start at the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority in January.

"I feel very excited and I value this opportunity to continue to be in public service," Rice said. "What I would like to do is meet with the board members on an individual basis and assess where they believe PICA should go, the direction that they want it to go, and then at some point decide on the direction of PICA under my leadership as well as the board's."

Rice is no stranger to PICA. As the controller's chief of staff, he occasionally stands in for Butkovitz at PICA meetings to contribute analysis, although the controller does not have a seat on the board.

The vacancy opened up this spring when former L&I commissioner Fran Burns left PICA about one year after becoming executive director. She is now chief operating officer of the School District of Philadelphia.

PICA hired the firm Diversified Search to help find its new director.

"He's a known entity, and we have lot of confidence in his ability to carry out the wishes of the board and to represent PICA," board member Greg Rost said.

Rice, a Northeast Philadelphia native, lives in Fishtown. He graduated from Temple University for his undergraduate and law degrees and from Archbishop Ryan High School. Before joining the Controller's Office, he served as the city's safe schools advocate for five years.

Board members on Tuesday also lauded Interim Director Steve Camp-Landis for his service during the transition. It was his second time as interim director.

"You did an excellent job and not through an easy time - on both occasions," board Chairman Sam Katz said.

PICA was created in the early 1990s to guide the city through a financial crisis. Every year, it must approve the city's five-year fiscal plan. If the plan is rejected, the city would lose $350 million in state funding, a critical blow to the city that has never been triggered.