For as long as many people in City Hall can remember, Joan Schlotterbeck has been the go-to person for questions big and small.

Need a bathroom in your City Hall office? Schlotterbeck was the person to call. Seeking snowflakes or wreaths for holiday decorations? She helped with that, too.

As Philadelphia public property commissioner since 2004, she has figured out how to maintain the properties, many aging and in need of repair, that Philadelphia owns.

Now, after 39 years as a city employee, Schlotterbeck is retiring. She is enrolled in the Deferred Retirement Option Program, or DROP, which entitles her to receive $388,361 when she leaves in June. She also gets a monthly pension of $7,400.

Her brother is Thomas A. Leonard, a lawyer, former city controller, and major Democratic fund-raiser.

Schlotterbeck declined to reminisce about her years as Philadelphia's landlord, but she has faced no shortage of interesting problems. Complaints about the smell of urine on Dilworth Plaza and in the train tunnels underneath often landed on her desk.

She also helped oversee the restoration of City Hall, renewing much of its grandeur.

The 700-room building was a constant learning experience.

In 2004, explaining the intricacies of maintaining City Hall rooms, she said, "This is a complicated building. Every time we turn around, we find another secret passage, another access panel or balcony."

- Miriam Hill

Old speaking habits are hard to break

Well, Mr. Speaker . . .

Kenyatta Johnson spent just three years in the state House before joining City Council in January. He brought the legislature's protocol with him, including the habit of starting every utterance with, "Mr. Speaker.

That led to the following exchange last week when Council President Darrell Clarke recognized Johnson for brief remarks applauding their colleague Councilman-at-large (and former House Speaker) Dennis O'Brien for his advocacy on autism issues.

Clarke: "The chair recognizes Councilman Johnson."

Johnson: "Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I just want to acknowledge the hard work. . . . Mr. President . . .

Clarke: "I've been called worse."

Johnson: "Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. President."

Johnson completed the accolade without further incident.

- Bob Warner