"IF IT MOVES, it's yours," is what Mayor Nutter likes to tell Rina Cutler, his deputy mayor fo transportation and utilities. Cutler, who once served as former Gov. Ed Rendell's PennDOT honcha, oversees the airport, the Water Department, the Streets Department and the city's Energy Office.
She's a board member for SEPTA and the Port Authority and the mayor's liaison with PennDOT, Amtrak, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, the freight rail system, the Philadelphia Parking Authority and the Delaware River Port Authority.
So when the season's first snowfall threatens to snarl the entire I-95 corridor on the busiest travel day of the year, the 61-year-old administrator - known in the corridors of local power as a force of nature herself - is on it.
"The streets commissioner and I have been monitoring forecasts since Monday," she said this week on the eve of the storm. While it wasn't shaping up to be "a plowable event," she said, there was a salting operation to mobilize and a Thanksgiving parade to get people to and from safely the following day.
Cutler spoke with Jenny DeHuff about her vast repertoire of civic duties regarding planes, trains and automobiles - and bikes, container ships and salt trucks - and what might be next for her as the mayor prepares to leave office in two years.
Q What is it about being deputy mayor for transportation and utilities that gets you going in the morning?
I am passionate about cities. I am passionate about airports. I am passionate about high-speed rail. I care very much about transit and how that impacts families and people in the city.
So there are a lot of things that I do that really make me excited to get up and come to work every day.
Q It seems like the job title casts a wide net. You've got the airport, the Port Authority . . . which is your favorite and why?
The portfolio is much broader than, certainly, I've ever done before. But it definitely means that I never have an opportunity to get bored. I may have a favorite today and it will change tomorrow, depending on what I'm working on.
One day I will be in a meeting of 10 or more transportation agencies that are thinking about logistics for the pope's visit, the next in a meeting on where to site bike-share stations. I might be in Washington for the National Freight Advisory Board or working with the airport CEO to discuss new international air service.
Q You used to work for the Philadelphia Parking Authority. You know most people hate the PPA.
I know that most people hate getting a parking ticket, so I do recognize that translates to the PPA.
I get that they're angry. It's a visceral reaction, and I get it. But we do not park their car.
Most of the regulations make perfect sense. Sometimes they're a little confusing, and I think that's a legitimate argument.
Q Tell us something about the trucking or railroad industry that people might not know.
Oh, they make the economy of the country operate, quite frankly! We have a society that loves to buy things, whether that's food for your Sunday dinner or clothing. We do a lot of consumption, and most of those goods come moving around on trucks and rail.
That's really the logistics delivery system that's in place in the country right now.
Q What would you say is your biggest pet peeve about Philly drivers?
They don't seem to think red lights mean stop.
Q What's next for you, after Mayor Nutter leaves office?
Oh, I think the sky is the limit. I am blessed with a lot of opportunity and job offers. When I know what the next adventure is, everyone else will know, too.
Q Is it true that your dream job is to become baseball commissioner?
That's true. I love baseball. I grew up in Red Sox Nation - I'm still a very proud member of Red Sox Nation - but most definitely have joined the Philly Nation. And because they play in different leagues, I generally don't have too many conflicts.
My dream would be a Phillies-Red Sox World Series, where I could root for both sides.