Parking Authority under fire from audit, officials

Philadelphia Parking Authority is being condemned following an audit of the agency by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, state Rep. Kevin Boyle, City Councilman David Oh and City Controller-elect Rebecca Rhynhart are condemning the Philadelphia Parking Authority following an audit of the agency by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

DePasquale’s audit included previously reported incidents of money mismanagement and sexual harassment at the PPA.

“It is clear from my audits that the PPA Board of Directors was like an absentee landlord when it comes to managing the day-to-day operations of the PPA and failed to oversee the activities of the former executive director (Vince Fenerty),” he said.

DePasquale said the four board members who served in 2006 and 2015, when sexual harassment claims surfaced, “developed acute amnesia” and allowed Fenerty to keep his $223,000-per-year job. They eventually allowed him to resign with a big payout, including comp time.

“The handling of sexual harassment complaints against the former executive director boggles the mind on so many levels,” DePasquale said. “I would have fired him on the spot once the investigation confirmed the accusations and he admitted it.”

Brendan Boyle (D-13th dist.) released the following statement:

“It is painfully clear that sweeping and immediate changes must begin at the PPA and they must start at the top with Chairman Joseph Ashdale’s resignation. These latest findings by Auditor General DePasquale leave no doubt that, under Chairman Ashdale’s leadership, the Philadelphia Parking Authority allowed a sexual harasser to continue as its executive director. This broken culture of demeaning and degrading women is beyond comprehension for any reasonable person. There must be consequences for his disgraceful leadership.”

Rhynhart said, “The auditor general’s findings show gross mismanagement, a complete lack of oversight by the board, ongoing unchecked sexual harassment and a loss of tens of millions of dollars that were meant to go to the school district. This is not acceptable for the residents of our city and, as such, I agree with Auditor General DePasquale’s assessment that the Parking Authority should return to local control. Furthermore, due to the magnitude of mismanagement under the current board’s watch, I believe all members of the PPA Board of Directors should resign. I applaud the auditor general for initiating this much-needed audit, and plan to ensure that real change occurs at the Parking Authority when I assume office in January.”

Kevin Boyle called for the state legislature to return control of the PPA to the city. He is a sponsor of H.B. 874, which would sunset the state’s control of the PPA on June 30, 2018. He faults the board for inaction on Fenerty.

“The PPA board chairman knew about it — and did little to nothing to stop it from continuing,” he said. “This is beyond comprehension for any reasonable person. The PPA needs serious reform. It should not continue to operate under the leadership of Chairman Ashdale and it would behoove him to resign immediately. As a state legislator, I will continue to push for my legislation that would return the PPA back to the city of Philadelphia”

City Council adopted a resolution introduced by Oh requesting the mayor, the state General Assembly and the governor act to restore control over the Philadelphia Parking Authority and its revenues to the city.

The resolution was adopted by a 15–1 vote. Councilman Brian O’Neill voted against the resolution. Councilman Al Taubenberger, a board member, abstained.

“The auditor general’s report clearly illustrates the egregious misuse and mismanagement of public funds collected in Philadelphia by the PPA,” Oh said. “The overwhelming majority vote of my colleagues today sends a strong message to the mayor, General Assembly and governor that the time to act to restore local control over the PPA to the city is now. To delay this action is to deprive our schools of much-needed funding and our citizens of the accountability from the PPA that has been missing for so long.” ••