The City Controller, a Councilman and the PPA All Use the Same Consultant. Is It a Conflict?

By Aaron Kase
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 6 | Posted Feb. 7, 2012

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See, unlike real-life incest, everything on record is perfectly legal as long as the players follow the letter of the law, though buying that line takes a certain suspension of disbelief on the part of an observer. Paying a political heavyweight $175 an hour just to run media campaigns and set up press conferences sounds about as believable as a hippopotamus in the Schuylkill.

So, is the system rigged or not? Well, Butkovitz was widely panned by his opponents during his 2009 re-election campaign for giving a powder-puff audit to the Parking Authority. And Kenney over the past few years has proposed handing off to the PPA regulation of tow-trucks, vehicle business licenses and private parking lots. Then it was Perzel, of course, who engineered the state takeover of the authority in 2001 and facilitated its massive expansion and forays into red-light cameras, taxi and limousine regulation and the Live Stop towing program. Connect the dots: O’Rourke’s biggest clients all are working to expand or protect the Parking Authority, his best client of all.

But surely, there’s no real collusion here. No conflict of interest, not even as Kenney, Butkovitz, O’Rourke and the PPA perform a cabaret kick line while singing a rousing chorus of “I’m My Own Grandpa,” while the whole production’s paid for with your money. It’s just business as usual. It’s what we do in Philadelphia.

Aaron Kase runs the Philadelphia Exposure Project, which aims to uncover business as usual in Philly politics. Find out what he knows on or

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Comments 1 - 6 of 6
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1. Constance M Tomlin said... on Feb 8, 2012 at 09:55AM

“What's amazing about actions like this is that these elected officials and departments have staff allowances to hire employees but never seem to fill those positions with qualified people to do what needs to be done. As far as PR is concerned, that can be done by the heads themselves just by performing the jobs they are being paid to do, and issuing a report. We have a Mayor who is always hiring outside consultants to do studies based on information that is readily available to him and his staff and city departments.

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2. Dave A said... on Feb 8, 2012 at 02:59PM

“Exactly what are you trying to accomplish with this article? It seems shoddy reporting at best; finger pointing without having something substantial to point the finger at. How about the mayor's cabinet raise before the cutbacks forced on city employees that makes him look good when he says his staff took a cut as well? Selective, secretive, and shameful work. Go back to the drawing board and when you have a significant incident of concern, please come back to us.”

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3. Anonymous said... on Feb 8, 2012 at 03:16PM

“"Paying a political heavyweight $175 an hour just to run media campaigns and set up press conferences sounds about as believable as a hippopotamus in the Schuylkill." Huh?? Do you write this stuff and figure it's true because you write it? What do you think professionals get paid for this stuff?? I'm not defending the system, but media accusations and implications are a big part of the problem. There is a story here, but you cover over your own point but jumping to ridiculous conclusions. The bigger point is that whether these guys are doing this intentionally or not, whether they are colluding intentionally or passively, there's an inherent conflict. That's the story. You lose people when you go further.”

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4. Cindy K. said... on Feb 8, 2012 at 08:45PM

“O'Rourke is a well-known asshole whose work "benefits" his clients, not the taxpayers. He's the kind of obsessive, insecure person who has his minions plant comments defending his work on blogs. (see above). By the way, if we have the benefit of O'Rourke's communications wisdom at the PPA, why do we need Linda Miller, who also makes well over $100,000. Joke. Seriously, what does O'Rourke have to show for his work with these public servants? Can the public see it maybe??”

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5. Alvin K said... on Feb 9, 2012 at 07:20AM

“I hear that he basically controls and runs the controller's office from his media mansion. probably does the same with the PPA.”

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6. Anonymous said... on Feb 15, 2012 at 06:26PM

“RIGHT ON, Cindy K”


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