PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia is making major changes, after a city controller’s report found dubious spending by its previous board chairman, and one step that’s already been taken: No more credit cards.
Until now, the city representative has also been the mayor’s fund board chair.
In the Nutter administration, that was Desiree Peterkin Bell.
A city controller report found she charged the Fund for shoes, travel, hotel rooms, a farewell party for former Mayor Nutter and 458 Uber rides.
Executive director Ashley Del Bianco says the elimination of credit cards is a needed step.
“It’s been a challenge over time to actually manage those credit cards,” she said. “It’s not something that was strictly related to that. It was not a move in reaction to any one thing. It was that this is something that’s been challenging for us to manage for quite a while.”
Del Bianco says the Fund wants to hit reset.
Among other changes, the board will shrink from 11 members to 9 but have more people from outside city government.
“We’re trying to have more diversity on our board and to be more effective at representing the community as a whole,” says Del Bianco.
She hopes the new board will be in place by the next meeting in September.
The city rep will no longer be the chair. The fund will get a new executive director who’s not a city employee.
Del Bianco will stay as grants manager.
“The idea is to really make sure that we have the best possible way of operating and we have full trust and transparency for both the funders we work with and with the general public,” she said.
City Controller Alan Butkovitz is not satisfied the changes go far enough.
He sent an email statement saying:
“The Mayor’s Fund has announced certain improvements in how the non-profit will be managed, but the concerns run much deeper than the remedies that have been outlined. We have an extensive ongoing investigation underway. It is premature at this time for anyone to put a period at the end of the review of the Mayor’s Fund.”
The fund uses marathon fees and private donations to fund projects that increase economic and educational opportunities, public safety and government efficiency.