Dear citizens and community leaders:

On May 16 of this year, Philadelphia voters will be weighing in on a proposed Charter amendment to allow city government to shift from “lowest responsible bidder” to “best value” procurement. This is a significant shift in the city’s procurement practices, potentially bringing them into closer alignment with those of other large municipalities, states and the federal government. The new Charter language, however, does not articulate specifically how the city’s policies and procedures would change. Details regarding implementation would be critical.

Consequently, the Committee of Seventy’s Board and staff will be working over the coming weeks to determine our position on the ballot question and what should be done – if the amendment is approved – to hold city officials accountable for executing the new system efficiently, effectively and transparently. This will include analyzing the proposed amendment and studying procurement practices as currently exercised in Philadelphia and other major jurisdictions.

Seventy will also be seeking input from subject matter experts, as well as vocal proponents and critics of the best value proposal. We welcome thoughts, questions and concerns from the city’s business, civic and elected leaders on this matter. Your input will help our Board and staff determine Seventy’s position on the proposed Charter amendment ahead of the May 16 primary election, and may also be shared anonymously with the broader public to help inform voters. Please submit your written feedback to Policy Program Manager Patrick Christmas at pchristmas@seventy.org by February 13.

                                                                                                                           Sincerely,

                                                                                                                           Committee of Seventy Board Members
                                                                                                                           Michael A. Schwartz
                                                                                                                           Courtney Gilligan Saleski