the mayor-elect's transition team is taking shape as the start of his term nears. With less than a month before his January 3 inauguration, Mayor-elect John Street is working on an elaborate plan for his transition that he hopes will smoothly move him into City Hall. Over the past few weeks, Street has appointed local officials and citizens to his Transition Team -- which will aid him not only in his immediate move to the mayorship, but also will help him outline a long-term vision for the future of Philadelphia. Street has named five transition co-chairs, including University President Judith Rodin, who will assist him in developing his administration by searching and screening candidates for city jobs. And he has appointed a whopping 38 task forces -- with approximately 300 members -- which will investigate various city issues, ranging from education to neighborhood blight. According to spokesperson Bruce Crawley, Street wants to address both short-term and long-term goals with this transition plan. "We would hope that many of these things are on a different time line," Crawley said. Crawley predicted that Street's administrative appointments will be made over the next six months, but the massive review of Philadelphia government may take over a year to complete. Street wants to take an in-depth look at city education, social services, neighborhood development, public safety and other quality of life issues. Still, Penn Public Policy and History Professor Ted Hershberg noted that Street will have to prove himself when he takes office. "This is good politics, you bring a lot of people in," he said, but added that the "real question is what happens afterwards." Street's extensive transition plans differ from his predecessor's efforts. Ed Rendell focused his transition mainly on recruiting candidates for top city jobs rather than long-term planning when he took office in 1992. But now, eight years later, the demands of the job have shifted. Crawley explained that Street is inheriting a very different Philadelphia. "About eight years ago there was a concern about the fiscal state of the city as a whole," he said, noting that today there is a different set of priorities -- namely the floundering school system and the crumbling neighborhoods. Because the major issues Street must address are community and neighborhood oriented, he has called this planning process "Vision for a Better Philadelphia." "Our vision for the city is one that includes better schools, better levels of public safety, improved job opportunities and a city government that is more responsive to its citizen's needs in every way," Street said in a recent statement. This plan designates three main committees -- education, government organization and policies and programs -- which will include the various task forces. Street has strived to ensure that the task forces are both bipartisan and multi-ethnic, Crawley said. "The mayor-elect has said he wants this transition process to look like Philadelphia," Crawley explained. Street moved into his new transition offices at 1818 Market Street yesterday. His 13-member staff will work on the organizational elements of his transition. Street expressed his excitement over the new base, saying that he was pleased with the progress of his transition. "The work being coordinated by this staff? is vital to the future of Philadelphia," Street said.Comments powered by Disqus
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