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Philadelphia Independent Charter Commission

[Record group 179]
Agency Function
The function of the Philadelphia Independent Charter Commission was to study the existing Home Rule Charter of Philadelphia and propose suitable changes to the Charter to assist Philadelphia municipal government in meeting its current and potential future obligations in servicing the public.

Agency History
The Philadelphia Independent Charter Commission (PCC) was a bi-partisan commission, set in motion by a 1992 recommendation by Mayor Rendell and officially proposed in City Council (Bill #47, 1992) by Councilwomen Fernandez and Specter. The PCC first convened in July, 1992. The panel consisted of 15 members; 9 appointed by City Council President John F. Street, and the other 6 by Mayor Rendell. The commission consisted of John F. Street, Esq. (chair), Robert C. Heim, Esq. (vice chair), Barbara Adams, Esq. (secretary), George R. Burrell Jr., Esq., Robert J. Butera, Esq., Frank Buzydlowski, Vito Canuso Jr., Esq., John Claypool, Esq., Rev. J. Jerome Cooper, Hon. Nelson A. Diaz, Melvin Howell, Charisse R. Lillie, Esq., Arline Jolles Lotman, Esq., Stephen A. Van Dyck, and Frances Walker. Walker resigned on December 2, 1992, and was replaced by Janet H. Ryder.

The original timetable of the PCC set the November 2, 1993 general election as its goal for getting the charter change question onto the ballot. However, they were unable to create a final legal document in time to meet the September 17, 1993 deadline for inclusion in the November election, and the ballot question was postponed until the May, 1994, election.

In drafting its preliminary recommendations, the PCC panel divided itself into 5 subcommitties. Committee I dealt with matters related to the structure of the executive branch and the reorganization of city boards, commissions, and panels. Committee II dealt with procurement and contracting, capital planning, and land and property management. Committee III dealt with budgetary process and financial procedures. Committee IV dealt with legal issues, including the role of the Law Department, the clarification of ambiguous or potentially unconstitutional charter provisions, and administrative procedures. Committee V dealt with city personnel practices and the civil service.

The 55 preliminary recommendations of the PCC were officially announced in June, 1993. The 62 final recommendations were approved by the panel on March 18, 1994.

Public hearings began on August 25, 1992, at which the preliminary recommendation drafting process was discussed. The first round of substantive hearings began in November, 1992. The second round of substantive hearings, at which the preliminary recommendations were reviewed, began in June, 1993. A special public hearing on city transportation was held on January 15, 1994, and the final recommendations were reviewed in March, 1994.

The ballot question was defeated in the May 10, 1994 election. The PCC ceased existence after that date, although some staff remained, closing operations, by the end of May, 1994.

Archival Records
179.1 Minutes (1992-1994)

179.2 Public Hearings- Transcripts and Written Testimony (1992-1994)

179.3 Public Hearings-Correspondence (1992-1994)

179.4 Publications (1993-1994)

179.5 Substantive Committees- Recommendations (1992-1994)

179.6 Substantive Committees- Subject Files (1992-1993)

179.7 Substantive Committees: Committee I (1992-1993)

179.8 Substantive Committees: Committee II (1992-1993)

179.9 Substantive Committees: Committee III (1992-1993)

179.10 Substantive Committees: Committee IV (1992-1993)

179.11 Substantive Committees: Committee V (1992-1993)

179.12 General Files (1949-1994 (bulk are 1992-1993))

179.13 City Employees- Questionnaires (1992)

179.14 City Employees- Correspondence (1992-1993)

179.15 Newsclippings (1992-1994)

179.16 Audio/ Visual materials (1992-1994)

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Last updated on November 8, 2000