Marian Tasco, the longtime City Councilwoman who served as a City Commissioner in the 1980s, came out with a strongly-worded statement Thursday calling for an appointed elections chief in lieu of the current system that has three elected City Commissioners.
Tasco posted her statement on her Facebook page Thursday afternoon. She said she has been watching "with great interest" the debate over the future of the City Commissioners.
"As we head towards a very important election season, I have decided to add my voice to those who have called to replace the current elected positions with positions appointed by the mayor, perhaps in consultation with members of City Council," Tasco wrote.
Committee of Seventy has been working behind the scenes to garner support for the elimination of the City Commissioners and replace them with an appointed professional to oversee the city's election operations. The group's call came in part after a series of Inquirer articles that about city commissioner Anthony Clark, who has become a political pariah for not showing up to work and not voting in six recent elections while still managing to be reappointed to the position of commission chairman.
In addition, the Inquirer reported that Philadelphia spends nearly $400,000 on salaries for three elected city commissioners to oversee the dozens of city employees who prepare year-round for elections. That is $100,000 more than is allotted for New York City's 10 commissioners, who oversee a system more than four times larger than Philadelphia's.
"I am convinced an appointed system would save money, which would be better spent on critical priorities like pre-K education," Tasco wrote.
Tasco is the second former city commissioner to say that three full-time positions, each with their own personal staffs, are not needed to needed to properly oversee elections. In February, Stephanie Singer chimed in on the matter, saying she didn't think her old position needed to be full-time. On Thursday, Tasco wrote:
"The job of overseeing elections, important as it is, does not need the attention of three full-time elected positions," Tasco wrote. "We can manage the election process at lower cost, with a greater degree of professionalism, and a higher degree of service to the citizens, with an appointed Elections Director and a volunteer board of elections."
The three city commissioners have previously refuted the idea of an appointed elections chief, saying that a mayoral appointee would be political. Currently the board of elections is made of up of the three city commissioners, two of who are Democrats and one is Republican.
Tasco retired last year after 28 years on Council.
See here for Tasco's full statement.
Click here for Philly.com's politics page.