City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart addressed members of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce on March 25 at the Dining Car.
Dan McElhatton, a former city councilman and the Chamber’s government affairs chairman, introduced Rhynhart, who was treasurer, budget director and chief administrative officer in the Nutter and Kenney administrations before running for controller in 2017. In the Democratic primary, she upset incumbent Alan Butkovitz.
Some people at the meeting agreed that Philadelphia needs someone like former Mayor Ed Rendell to get it out of the doldrums.
“We need that cheerleader in chief,” McElhatton said.
While nobody suggested Rendell run for mayor next year, Spike’s Trophies CEO Keith Baldwin asked Rhynhart if she will run.
“I want to do something that has the biggest impact,” she said.
Rhynhart said she is considering the race, but loves her current job and would have to resign to run.
The controller spoke of her report that criticized the city’s payroll system and her public comments on issues such as gun violence, the criminal justice system and trash collection. She said Philadelphia can be both pro-business and pro-worker.
“I believe that government can work,” she said.
Rhynhart said the city must balance what communities want with the cumbersome rules and regulations developers face. She noted Philadelphia’s low rank in Arizona State’s Ease of Doing Business study.
“We have a lot of work to do,” she said.
At the same time, she said she would investigate any business that pays workers under the table.
Shawn Dillon, who at the time was the Democratic candidate in the 5th Senatorial District special election, spoke of high business taxes and silly violations issued by the city Department of Licenses and Inspections, citing a local pizza shop as a victim.
“Northeast Philly pays the majority of taxes throughout Philadelphia,” he said.
Rhynhart suggested a hub that small business owners can call with problems or ideas.
In other news:
• Pam Henshall, president of the Chamber, and Dining Car owner Nancy Morozin invited the public to attend Flavors of the Northeast, on Sunday, May 15, from 1-7 p.m. at Cannstatter’s, 9130 Academy Road. There will be food trucks, crafts, business vendors, drinks, music, a performance by LeCompt and children’s activities. To be a food or artisan vendor, call 215-332-3400. ••