Mayor-elect Jim Kenney's latest wave of announcements mean that his administration's top people on money matters will bring plenty of experience with Philadelphia's finances, in good times and bad.
Kenney said Monday that he will retain Rob Dubow as chief financial officer, and put budget director Rebecca Rhynhart in a new post in charge of overseeing procurement, information technology, and human resources.
Kenney also said that Sheila Hess, director of foundation and community affairs for Independence Blue Cross, will serve as city representative, and Harold T. Epps, vice chairman of the regional company PRWT Services, will be his commerce director.
Dubow, 56, has served as finance director throughout Mayor Nutter's eight-year tenure, and helped lead the city's fiscal recovery from the recession.
During Monday's news conference, Kenney called Dubow and Rhynhart "hardened, battle-tested."
"I can't think of anyone I would rather have behind us making sure that we don't make financial mistakes, that we live within our means, and we do the right thing," Kenney said.
Prior to joining Nutter's administration, Dubow was executive director of the city's fiscal watchdog, the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, where earlier in his career he was a senior financial analyst. From 2000 to 2004, he served as budget director to Mayor John F. Street.
As he gets ready to serve his third mayor, Dubow said that while the city's financial picture has improved in the last few years, there is more work to be done.
"I think fiscal integrity is the key to any city's success, and if you don't pay attention to dollars, you can't do the things you want," Dubow said.
Rhynhart, 41, will move from budget director to chief administrative officer, a cabinet-level position Kenney is creating to oversee the way the city delivers services at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers, along with the way it hires, trains, and compensates employees.
As outlined by Kenney, departments reporting to Rhynhart will include information technology, procurement, human resources, property, and fleet. She has been budget director since 2010 and previously was city treasurer. She also worked as a credit analyst for Fitch Ratings.
Rhynhart said she wants to better utilize the city's technology, improve employee recruitment, and modernize government practices.
Hers is the second new post Kenney plans to create. Earlier this month he announced a new chief diversity and inclusion officer, lawyer Nolan N. Atkinson Jr., who will report directly to him.
Hess, 46, will be responsible for attracting commerce, increasing tourism, and enhancing Philadelphia's reputation as a world-class city, Kenney's campaign said in a statement. Since 2011, Hess has served as director of Independence Blue Cross's $65 million charitable foundation. She has been with the company for 23 years, but called her career change to city representative "a dream come true."
Hess, who grew up in South Philadelphia, has been a supporter of Kenney since his City Council days.
Kenney called her "one of the most interesting and hardworking people that I've dealt with in my life. . . . She will put a face on this city that I think, really, you will love."
During Monday's announcement, Hess said service and the city were her biggest passions.
"Service is in my DNA. . . . If I got paid for what I do to volunteer, I would be loaded and I wouldn't need to work," she said. "My goal is to make Philadelphia shine so bright, we'll all be wearing sunglasses, all 24 hours."
Epps, 63, will switch from the private to the public sector as he leaves his vice chairman position at Philadelphia-based PRWT to become commerce director. PRWT, a provider of business solutions, facilities management, and infrastructure support services, is one of the largest minority-owned businesses in the region.
Kenney said he was thrilled when Epps said that he wanted the commerce post to target neighborhood business development.
"That was it for me," said Kenney, whose campaign focused in part on promising that every neighborhood should have the same opportunities.
Epps moved to Philadelphia eight years ago, but has some familiarity with City Hall's workings. He headed a 2009 task force, created by Nutter, that recommended the city shift its tax burden from business and wage taxes to property owners.
"The way I look at it, the spades in the ground and cranes in the air will carry Center City to 2025," Epps said Monday. "We have to work to make sure that the same opportunity gets out into our neighborhoods."
A big fund-raiser and campaign donor - including to Kenney - Epps is on the DNC Host Committee, which is working to raise $82 million in private funds to underwrite the 2016 Democratic National Convention being held here next summer.
More announcements from Kenney were expected Tuesday.