By Pat Loeb

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A coalition of civic groups, today, launched a campaign to eliminate the Philadelphia city commissioners and replace them with an appointed “elections director.”

Alison Pearlman, of Philadelphia 3.0, says the group Better Philadelphia Elections Coalition is responding to years of complaints about the commissioners, highlighted recently by the chronic absenteeism of commission chair Anthony Clark.

“We have three commissioners, two of whom show up and the buck doesn’t stop with anyone of them,” said Pearlman.

Pearlman says the group studied best practices elsewhere and concluded an appointed director is the way to go.

“There’s a reason we don’t elect our police, fire and health commissioners. We seek out and hire experts in their fields to run departments.”

Commissioner Lisa Deeley begs to differ.

“There’s no fairer, more transparent form of government than to be elected by the people,” Deeley said.

Deely says a political appointment robs citizens of a voice, and Commissioner Al Schmidt notes the myriad complaints about New York’s primary, run by an appointed board, compared to a Philadelphia election that went relatively smoothly.