Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Transition team has 139 recommendations for Kenney's first year

The transition team tasked with issuing recommendations for Mayor Kenney's first year in office handed him more than 100 suggested initiatives in a 65-page report released Tuesday.

The transition team tasked with issuing recommendations for Mayor Kenney's first year in office handed him more than 100 suggested initiatives in a 65-page report released Tuesday.

If Kenney follows the recommendations - and the timeline - he's got a busy road ahead.

The report, compiled and edited by Kenney's policy team, largely reflects his campaign promises across every aspect of city government, but offers few details on how to fund or accomplish the initiatives.

Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said the report offered recommendations, "not a list of what we're going to do. Some we will do, some we won't be able to do."

In November, Kenney appointed a diverse collection of leaders from the public and private sector to focus on five areas: education, economic opportunity, public safety, efficient government, and ensuring a diverse workforce. The group of 170 was divided into 10 committees.

The effort was chaired by State Rep. Dwight Evans and Alba Martinez, former city human services commissioner.

Martinez said the team researched ideas Kenney had laid out during the campaign, analyzed results of previous city policies, and spoke with longtime city staffers.

The report also includes feedback from five town-hall meetings and more than a thousand ideas shared via email and social media.

Each recommendation has either a July 2016 or January 2017 completion goal.

The safety committee recommended the reinstatement of a Park and Walk program to get police officers walking the streets to improve community-police relations, and the continued implementation of body cameras.

It did not, however, recommend an end to stop-and-frisk, which Kenney vowed to suspend when he became mayor.

"What we agreed on is, there needs to be more training on how to do legal stops," said committee chair Maureen Rush, vice president for public safety at the University of Pennsylvania and superintendent of Penn Police. "Stop-and-frisk is definitely a bona fide tool, but we must have training. There must be follow-ups and checks and balances on how it's done."

Education is one of the larger sections of the report. The committee calls on Kenney to fulfill his promise of 25 community schools over the next four years, and for universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds. The recommendations do not include specifics on how to fund the plan, which Kenney has said will be announced at his March 3 budget address.

While some offices received larger write-ups, a few big departments received only a glancing mention. One paragraph, for instance, was dedicated to the Department of Human Services, which suggested that Kenney look at strategies to improve the existing system. Hitt said that submissions were edited for length, but that nothing substantive was removed.

Other recommendations include offering municipal ID cards to Philadelphia residents, adding 15 miles of new bike lanes, and creating a board to address litter and develop a 10-year waste plan for the city.

The city's parks and libraries could see some upgrades if Kenney follows a recommendation to create an inventory-assessing public-amenity infrastructure.

New positions proposed include director of international investment, a post suggested by the commerce committee to entice international investment in Philadelphia.

Many of the committees crossed missions. For instance, the committee on culture, community, and recreation recommended linking schools with the nonprofit sector to bring more programming to the underfunded School District.

The committee proposed a one-stop calendar of cultural offerings throughout the city that teachers and principals could access.

"Philadelphia doesn't have a problem of not enough programming," said Nicole Allen, cochair of the committee and director of government and external affairs for the Philadelphia Museum of Art. "The problem is, there's no centralized database where all this information lives."

White called the transition report a guide for Kenney's first year.

"We were tasked with what could be done in the first 100 days, in the first year, and in the first term, and to think strategically about that," she said. "I can tell you, not everything we recommended was included in here, but I think the essence of what we said was included, and I think the hope is eventually it gets accomplished."



Staff writer Claudia Vargas contributed to this article.

Some of the transition report highlights

Some of the Kenney transition team's recommendations in its report, issued Tuesday:

311: Mayor Kenney should improve 311, the city's nonemergency hotline, by creating formal agreements between the hotline and the various city departments.

Procurement: Kenney had said the city could save $65 million over time by using reverse auctioning in awarding contracts. Contract-seekers would bid against one another auction-style, rather than submitting a single sealed bid. The transition team endorsed the idea and said Kenney should implement reverse auctioning within his first year, as well as increase the use of local vendors.

Job training: Kenney should create a career pipeline pilot program for high school students and unemployed young adults.

Prison reentry: During the campaign, Kenney spoke of providing opportunities for inmates leaving prison and reentering society. The transition report suggests Kenney develop a "real plan for returning citizens that provides educational and employment opportunities." No specific details were included.

Recruiting business: The mayor should launch a campaign to recruit businesses from surrounding counties to open Philadelphia offices. To make the move attractive, Kenney should look into tax-policy changes to make Philadelphia competitive in attracting businesses and retaining existing jobs.

Pre-K: "Part of implementing universal pre-K will be obtaining the funds to do so," the transition report states. However, it does not give much guidance on where to find the money except to say the Kenney administration should identify private partners who would be willing to help financially with the creation of facilities, purchase of durable goods associated with quality pre-K curriculum, and workforce training.

Sustainability: The Office of Sustainability should look into installing solar power on city-owned buildings and if city-owned land can be used to aid the creation of community solar projects.

Litter: In his first year, the mayor should convene a litter cabinet to develop a cross-departmental cleanup action plan.

Affordable housing: The mayor should conduct an analysis of the construction cost of affordable-housing development in Philadelphia to identify where to best focus future housing dollars.

Municipal IDs: Kenney should look into implementing a municipal ID program in Philadelphia. Municipal identification cards typically feature the photo and address of the cardholder while also allowing access to important city benefits, such as library, transportation, or parking services. Although available to all residents of a city, the cards are particularly useful for community members who may have difficulty obtaining and retaining other government-issued ID, such as undocumented immigrants, the homeless, and foster youth.

Bikes: Kenney should plan to implement about 15 miles of new bike lanes this year and look to expand Ride Indego into additional neighborhoods.

Street harassment: Within his first year, Kenney should launch a public education campaign to combat street harassment of women and people in the LGBT community.

- Claudia Vargas