A fifth and final board member was appointed today to the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, the state-created agency that must vote to approve or reject Philadelphia's budget late this month or early next month.

Wadud Ahmad, a criminal-defense lawyer, was selected by state Senate Democratic Leader Robert J. Mellow to fill a seat that had been vacant for months.

Among the first votes expected to be cast by Ahmad, of the Ahmad & Zaffarese firm in Center City, will be whether to accept the city's $3.8 billion budget.

Since many aspects of the plan require approval by state lawmakers, such as increasing the sales tax in the city from 7 percent to 8 percent, PICA will also likely be asked to approve a proposal that includes deep cuts in case lawmakers reject the city's requests.       - Marcia Gelbart