By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The lawmaker expected to become the next president of Philadelphia City Council is already laying groundwork for possible new hires.

City Councilman Darrell Clarke next month is expected to succeed Anna Verna as Council President, considered the second most powerful position in Philadelphia government.  Council this week will cast a final vote on a cash transfer requested by Clarke:  $400,000 already in council’s current budget for materials and equipment would be shifted to personnel — in other words, for salaries.

That’s about 3% of the entire Council budget of $15-million. The transfer was approved by Council’s Finance Committee last week.

Clarke will not say whether more staff will be added, “There is no anticipation to hire anybody at this point.  This is simply positioning the council, in the event there is the need to hire additional personnel to accommodate the needs of council.”

Clarke insisted this move is not newsworthy, and is similar to what a mayor routinely does.

“During the course of the year, you will see significant internal transfers within the administration’s budget.  This is the same thing, except it is for the Council.  In this particular case, there will probably be a need to accommodate personnel hires within the council’s budget.”

In fact, at least two key positions will need to be filled: Council’s Chief Financial Officer (Charles McPherson retired last year, but has stayed on under a personal services contract that expires at year’s end); and Council’s top legal expert (Rick Auerbach recently retired).  So, the extra cash for salaries gives Clarke flexibility to fill those top posts quickly as he takes the reins of the Council presidency.

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