On November 8, 2005, Philadelphia voters will be presented with a ballot question about whether to change the City Charter - essentially the City's constitution – and significantly curtail the City's costly "pay-to-play" system.
Here's what the question is going to say: "Shall the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to require Council approval of certain City leases, contracts and concessions, to empower Council to address public confidence in the integrity of the City's contracting process by requiring certain disclosures and by providing whether persons who have made certain campaign contributions are ineligible for such contracts and for City financial assistance, and to empower Council to regulate the process by which non-competitively bid (no-bid) contracts are awarded?" Wow, that's a mouthful.
What does it mean? If a majority of Philadelphia voters vote yes on this question, information regarding City professional services contracts would be made available to the public, providing for a more transparent process whereby pay-to-play and other related corrupt practices would be less likely to occur and/or more easily detected. Individuals/businesses seeking no-bid contracts would not only be required to disclose political contributions, but there would be limits as to how much individuals/businesses could give to a candidate, incumbent and/or Political Action Committee (“PAC”).
The only reason to vote no on this charter change question is if you have personally benefited from the City's pay-to-play culture (like maybe somebody put a deck on your house or slipped you an envelope full of money); because most of us have not (and would never), please make sure that you vote yes on this question. For more information, check out the Committee of 70's website.