Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown – Press

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Councilmembers Call for Hearings on City’s “Rule of Two”

 (PHILADELPHIA, PA) September 17, 2015— Today, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Browncalled for hearings to examine a change to Article VII Chapter 401-h of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter commonly referred to as the “Rule of Two,” co-sponsored by Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez. The Rule of Two provides for the “certification of the two persons standing highest on the appropriate eligible list to fill a vacancy.”Therefore, upon the vacancy of a Civil Service position, applicants take the Civil Service exam and the two individuals who score highest on the test are then eligible for hire.

As reported by Tom Ferrick in a recent Philly.com article, “[C]ivil service rules – and specifically the Rule of Two – make it difficult to change the mix of employees. A police commissioner, for instance, may want to hire someone who speaks Mandarin for the police force. But, if that applicant isn’t among the top two scorers, he is out of the running.”

“That is a compelling argument and a prime example of why we are ready for a change to the City’s hiring practices,” said Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown. “For years, Councilman W. Wilson Goode and I have asked City departments in budget hearings why the demographics of their employees do not ‘look like Philadelphia.’ The main culprit appears to be the Rule of Two.  As a former teacher, I understand that tests are a good first step to determine if someone is appropriate for a position, but it certainly should not be the only step. We intend to fully examine this issue, and hope to achieve results that make our workforce more diverse while still maintaining a fair process for all applicants.”

She continued, “No major company would interview only two people for a job based on how they scored on a test.  That is an old way of thinking.  In 2015, companies are hiring for specific, unique skills, especially those involving technology, language and a host of other critical thinking skills and abilities that just don’t shine through on the Civil Service exam. We need to give our City departments more qualified candidate options to consider in the hiring pool.”

“In 2014, I sponsored the City’s first-ever hearings investigating the unmet need for our municipal workforce to keep up with Philadelphia’s changing demographics and languages,” said Councilwoman Quiñones-Sánchez. “Diverse hiring matters both for equality of access to job opportunities and to crucial city services.”

Philadelphia is known to have one of the narrowest eligibility requirements in the nation because of the Rule of Two. New York and Boston consider the individuals with the three top scores eligible for employment.

Los Angeles requires departments to certify as eligible no less than five applicants more than there are positions available. It also considers all applicants who earned one of the top three scores as eligible, meaning that if three people earn a top score of 92, five people earn a 91 and two people earn a 90, all ten of those applicants are considered eligible for hire.

Along with this resolution, Councilwoman Reynolds Brown is also working on Charter change legislation that is expected to be introduced in the coming months.

For additional information please contact Communications Manager Jason Lewis at 215-686-3438 or 267-250-2925.

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Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown has passed meaningful legislation and supported valuable community programming that positively impacts her core issues:  children and youth, women, education, small business development, arts and culture and the environment and sustainability.  Councilwoman Reynolds Brown is the only woman to win an At-Large Council seat since 1999.

More news at PHLCouncil.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Tumblr: CouncilwomanBRB

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Councilwoman Introduces Bill to Combat Street Peddling by Minors

 (PHILADELPHIA, PA) September 10, 2015 –Today, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a bill to combat “solicitations of contributions in the roadway by minors,” otherwise known as street peddling.
 
The bill aims to reduce street peddling by minors by mandating fines for adults responsible for minors who peddle goods or solicit money in the streets.  Chapter 10-308-3b of the Philadelphia code titled Minors would be changed to read as follows: 
 
“Any adult allowing a minor under his or her care, custody or control, to violate the provisions of this Section shall be issued a notice of violation in the amount of three hundred dollars ($300).”
 
Street peddling most often occurs in busy intersections and on highways with high traffic, and as a result it poses a threat to the safety of both minors and drivers. Peddlers distract drivers, interfere with traffic, and can cause accidents between vehicles or between minors and vehicles. Child peddlers are particularly dangerous because they are smaller, less visible, and typically less educated in road safety and potential injuries caused by even a slow moving car.
 
The current Philadelphia Code puts the issue of a notice of violation for street peddling at the discretion of the officer present. However, since that legislation was passed in 2007, no city violations have been issued. For eight years, street peddling by minors has continued. New legislation will increase the penalty from $100 to $300 and spark a new dialogue about enforcement with the Police Department.
 
“Street peddling is dangerous to both children and motorists alike,” said Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.  “The last thing anyone wants is for an accident to happen, or for a child to be injured or killed. In 2007, we allowed police officers to enforce current street peddling laws at their discretion, but not one single violation was issued.  Given that information, it is clear we must re-ignite this dialogue and work with the police department to achieve a paradigm shift in their policies regarding street peddling. Doing nothing is not acceptable.”
 
For additional information please contact Communications Manager Jason Lewis at 215-686-3438 or 267-250-2925.
 
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 Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown has passed meaningful legislation and supported valuable community programming that positively impacts her core issues:  children and youth, women, education, small business development, arts and culture and the environment and sustainability.  Councilwoman Reynolds Brown is the only woman to win an At-Large Council seat since 1999.

More news at PHLCouncil.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Tumblr: CouncilwomanBRB

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