During the City Council meeting on September 29th, and following news that former-PPA boss Vince Fenerty had sexually harassed at least two of his subordinates, Councilman Oh introduced a resolution calling for a full performance audit of the PPA.
Notably, Council rejected his call for an audit. (Was this because the PPA, despite being run by Republicans, is still substantially a Democratic patronage den for low-level employees? The world will never know.) When the initial voice vote proved inconclusive, Council President Clark creatively hid the resolution's defeat from the public record by asking for a hand vote.
(Of note: The resolution at issue wasn't even entered into Legistar. It's like it was never introduced at all.)
In other cities, these shenanigans wouldn't have mattered because all votes--even hand votes--are recorded in Legistar, the online legislative tracking system. But not in Philadelphia! Our Legistar, which is run out of the Chief Clerk's office, is managed by the Council President's office and doesn't track votes.
Interestingly, we discovered that Council used to keep a record of Yeas and Neas on all bills in Legistar up until the spring of 2006, but when they returned from their (13 week) summer recess that year they just stopped doing it.
Fun fact: The last Council vote breakdown ever recorded in Legistar was a 2006 bill from then-Councilman Michael Nutter to allow sidewalk seating at Johnny Mañanas Restaurant at 4201 Ridge Avenue.
In order to be able to hold our elected officials accountable, we need to know what they do. Legislators, like members of City Council, introduce and vote on legislation. And the lack of an accessible, comprehensive record of those actions makes holding them accountable much more difficult.
So, in the wonkiest survey ever, we ask: Which of the following 10 features do you think would make the biggest improvements to Legistar? All of these options are currently in use in a number of other cities, and we've provided some screenshots to show what's possible.