By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Republican candidate for mayor in Philadelphia, businesswoman Melissa Murray Bailey, is skeptical of Democratic challenger Jim Kenney’s idea of expanding the powers of Philadelphia Parking Authority enforcement officers.

Kenney last night said PPA officers should be able to issue tickets for other things, such as litter or sidewalk violations, and even be authorized to check construction permits.

Those are matters now handled by two chronically understaffed city departments: Streets, and Licenses and Inspections (L&I).

But Kenney’s GOP opponent, Melissa Murray Bailey, is skeptical of his idea.

“I didn’t necessarily know that (enforcement officers) have a lot of extra time on their hands,” she said today.  “And if they do have extra time on their hands, then we should be looking at how we’re allocating our resources.”

And Bailey doesn’t think Parking Authority officers should go anywhere near matters handled by L&I with regard to public safety.

“With something like L&I, that is a challenge that we’ve had in the city over and over again.  And further diluting the responsibility in that area, I think, would just lead to more challenges,” she told KYW Newsradio.

Kenney has said he doesn’t envision PPA officers doing inspections, but merely checking on the validity of paperwork at job sites.