Fran Burns, who was widely credited with modernizing Philadelphia's Department of Licenses and Inspections, will leave her job as head of that agency to become executive director of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, the state board created as a fiscal watchdog for city government.
Burns, 36, initiated a number of changes at L&I after taking the post in 2008, including reducing overtime and demolition costs, and consolidating the number of permits required of businesses.
"Fran was vigorous on behalf of the city, while at the same time attempting to be fair to property owners," said Darrell Zaslow, legal counsel for the Homeowners Association of Philadelphia, which represents residential property owners.
At PICA, Burns replaces Uri Monson, who left in January to become chief financial officer of Montgomery County.
A replacement for Burns has not yet been named. As head of L&I, she is paid $125,000. At PICA, her salary will be $160,000, about $20,000 less than Monson was paid there.
"We're more cost-conscious now," said Sam Katz, chair of PICA's board. PICA was established in 1991 during a city fiscal crisis, and requires mayors to submit five-year budget plans for approval by PICA's board.
Katz said Burns quickly rose to the top of the list of candidates a search firm provided.
"The search committee's consensus was that Fran was a superb and superior candidate," Katz said.
Burns is married with two children. She lives in the Northeast, and graduated from Villanova University with an undergraduate degree in political science and a master's degree in public administration.
Before becoming L&I commissioner, she served as that department's deputy commissioner. She also has worked as an assistant budget director for the city and held a staff position with PICA. Her tenure as head of L&I was not without problems. The public was outraged in 2010 when L&I seized a cupcake truck for parking illegally in a restricted zone, for example.
Katz said he hoped to see PICA look more closely at individual city departments, citing a report the agency recently commissioned on the Fire Department as an example. Burns said she wanted to talk to the PICA board more before determining her priorities.
"I'm really looking forward to getting to know them well and executing the vision of the board," Burns said.
Contact Miriam Hill at 215-854-5520, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @miriamhill. Read the City Hall politics blog at www.heardinthehall.com.