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The Post  
City Controller Releases Audit on PPA; Hunter Biden's Taxes Investigated; Jefferson/Einstein Merger
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 12/10/20 12:00 am | updated: 12/10/20 12:00 am
A Philadelphia City Controller audit of the Philadelphia Parking Authority has found that the agency is operating with an inflated workforce and high management salaries compared to other publicly managed parking agencies across the county. The audit covered 2016-2018. City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart said, "Management salaries need to be reined in... While the parking enforcement officer, the PEO, the entry-level position is paid the lowest of all the comparable cities," Rhynhart said. "That's just not right." The executive director is paid $210,000 per year while a PEO is paid $43,984. She also says the workforce is bloated. The on-street parking unit has more than 600 workers. The audit also found a high rate of political/family patronage in the hiring process. Ultimately, any inefficiency wastes money that would be going to the school district.

SEE REPORT: Philadelphia Parking Authority Audit

The PPA Chairman Joe Ashdale said:
"For over two years (the Comcast Towers were built in less time) the City Controller's team examined every aspect of PPA operations impacting the On-Street Parking Program and two very clear points stand out. First, the audit did not find any material weaknesses in the way in which the PPA manages the On-Street Parking program. Secondly, the PPA made record payments to the City and School District in each year of the audit period. PPA contributed over $200 million to the City and School District from the On-Street Parking Program, an increase of $11.4 million (25%) from the beginning of the audit period in FY 2016 through FY 2019. The contribution to the City went from $35.7 million to $41.7, an increase of $6 million (17%). The contribution to the School District went from $10.3 million to $15.7 million, an increase of $5.4 million (53%). Additionally, every one of the four recommendations cited in the executive summary were implemented long before the Controller's review even began.

"Regarding the Controller's apples to oranges comparison of the PPA operation to other cities, as the Auditor General acknowledged in his 2017 report, the PPA is unlike any other parking authority making comparisons nearly impossible. Any attempt to make comparisons of expenses and salaries with other cities whose operations bear no resemblance to Philadelphia's parking environment or scope of services is significantly flawed."

Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joe Biden, is now under federal investigation. Biden's "tax affairs" are the target of the U.S. Attorney's office in Delaware. Details of the investigation have not been disclosed. "I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs. I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors," Hunter Biden said in a statement.

A federal judge has ruled that the merger between Jefferson Health and the Einstein Healthcare Network can proceed. The Pennsylvania Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission tried to temporarily block the deal. The two non-profit hospital systems signed an agreement to merge in 2018. The government argued the merger would be bad for insurers and patients, but the hospitals say they will still remain competitive in the market. Einstein also says there would be layoffs and service reductions if the merger did not happen. The FTC can appeal.

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