By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia officials presented the city’s Integrity Award on Thursday.

They said it was significant that the award went to a deputy commissioner in the long-troubled Department of Licenses and Inspections.

Inspector General Amy Kurland had a lot of good news in 2017. She says her office recovered more than $9 million, five times its budget, by reviewing contract compliance and pension eligibility, and by firing, sometimes prosecuting, and getting restitution from employees who violate rules from taking money to collect commercial trash, to cheating on their time cards.

“These cases send a really strong message that all employees, no matter what level they are in government, they all have to follow the rules,” said Kurland.

Another message, Mayor Jim Kenney says, can be drawn from the Integrity Award going to Ralph DiPietro at L&I.

“I’ve been a city resident, born and raised in the city, and L&I has always had its issues throughout the years, always some scandal here and there, and to have someone from that department win this award shows you how this city and this department have truly changed,” said Kenney.

Kurland says last summer, five L&I inspectors reported contractors attempting to bribe them, a “sea change,” she says, from the days when the city would get complaints about inspectors taking bribes, and something for which she gave DiPietro a large part of the credit.