Mayor Parker busting the personnel budget

While Cherelle Parker — Philadelphia’s 100th and first Black female mayor — promised no new taxes in her first budget address, she did not mention that she was more than doubling the mayor’s budget, a move that even the friendly Inquirer described as “unusual.”

Mayor Cherelle Parker: You get a job, and you get a job, and YOU get a job. (Photo: Inquirer)

Her budgeted staff is exploding from 39 positions under Jim Kenney to 113. That’s an 189.7% increase, 

Unusual? For me, maybe “grotesque” would have been the more apt term. Or “ginormous.” Or “unprecedented” and “unwarranted.”

You get the point. I am not a fan of the cash avalanche from Parker a/k/a Was she channeling Oprah when the TV host handed out cars to members of her audience? “You get a job, and you get a job, and you get a job!”

The Inquirer sought to forgive explain Parker’s wild excess in the usual ways, quoting toadies staffers as saying the money was necessary to attract the best and the brightest, meaning the top tier of Parker’s campaign staff, I guess.

I read the Inquirer story closely. In the 22 paragraphs there was not a single paragraph with anyone saying anything negative about the money grab.

The Inquirer could not find a single good government type to at least question the requested windfall?

Remember that derisive term popularized locally by Vince Fumo — OPM?

That stands for Other People’s Money, funds that flow from elsewhere into your own pockets.

In an attempt to alibi explain the exploding money fountain, the Inquirer tried to put it into some kind of context.

“It’s unsurprising that Parker has gravitated toward a top-heavy administration,” the Inquirer reported. “The mayor has said repeatedly that she is a process-oriented leader, meaning that she wants a consistent structure and as much information as possible before making major decisions, such as naming top appointees or crafting policy decisions.”


Another way to express that word salad is bureaucracy. 

Does the term “too many cooks spoil the broth” ring a bell?

Sometimes “smaller” can be a virtue.

Avis built a reputation around it being No. 2 to the much larger Hertz. (That was then. Enterprise is now the largest.)

There was a huge flap just about a year ago when Sheriff Rochelle Bilal got caught trying to double her salary, and applying funds intended to hire deputy sheriffs for raises to her executives and other staffers.

A key difference here is that Parker did not try to enrich herself. She simply expanded the trough to accommodate a lot more pigs.

Called on to do the ‘splaining was Parker’s chief of staff, Tiffany W. Thurman. 

“The proposed budget for the office of the mayor is increasing because we’re doing big things in [20]25, with many of them coming right out of the mayor’s office,” she said, redundantly.

The mayor’s salary is $261,497, according to city records, which is not the top city salary — not even in the Top 15. (Highest paid city employee — medical examiner, $352,637.)  I could not find Thurman’s salary on the data website, which probably has not yet been updated. 

This is Parker’s proposed budget.

Let’s see if anyone on City Council wants to cut short Parker’s honeymoon by saying nay to the amazing increase she has requested.

7 thoughts on “Mayor Parker busting the personnel budget”

  1. And you’re surprised? I don’t think Philly’s had a mayor who was concerned about the budget since Rendell.

    And if Parker really means it about not raising taxes, then all the money spent on new salaries means less for the city’s other needs. Or, less left to cut the city’s already high tax burden.

  2. Thank you for calling attention to this move by the Mayor. Agree let’s see if City Council is in lock step; suspect they’re all in (it’s not their money). Do we think any will half her request for the Mayors Office and redirect to Police? Of course with regard to Mayor Parker time will tell, however where in gov has bigger been better? While the city government is important what many experience and object to when dealing with the city is the work culture, can more improve this? . Let’s see if the Leader can impact the culture.

  3. More pigs in the trough is the perfect way to put it. Their inability to tell the truth is part of their DNA. Stu—-Stop wasting your time looking for anything useful in the inquirer. Their credibility vanished a decade ago.


  4. A very good thing had been the reported 14% reduced city labor force emerging from Covid. We know that every department has some inefficient and ineffective employees, for one hiring reason or another.

    It seemed a stroke of great opportunity for the leaders of our city and for us as taxpayers and residents to have the 86% of our employees work more effectively and more thoughtfully without the burden and obstacles of the ineffective ones no longer employed.

    A 14% reduction of salaries, benefits and pensions should mean a reduced tax burden on all of us. Reducing our taxes is the smartest and most logical leadership decision to be made by our Mayor and Council. Correct?

  5. Well, I guess time will tell if this is a good or bad thing, right? If all these hires hit the ground running and actually help improve things in the city, I don’t think anyone is going to have an issue. However, if it’s business as usual, and if these hirings/staff are just more fluff, well, I’m sure there will be a comeuppance. I believe in giving someone the benefit of the doubt until they prove they are not worthy of it.

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