Could Philly’s mayor-elect run the city like Gov. Shapiro leads the state?

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If anyone in Pennsylvania’s state government has the empathy to understand the average person — whether a business owner seeking a permit or a resident asking for unemployment assistance — it might just be Bry Pardoe.

That’s because it’s her job as an executive for digital experience at the state to put humans at the center of government processes instead of just the rules that require mental acrobatics for everyone to follow.

Pardoe’s job exists because of the leadership of Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro — a Democrat in a state that has its fair share of Republicans outside its two big cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Since being sworn into office in January 2023, Shapiro has pushed some bureaucratic tendencies of state government aside — from an emergency no-bid construction contract to rebuild a collapsed section of I-95 to streamlining state permits — in an effort to improve the economic competitiveness of the region.

Pa. Gov. Josh Shapiro at a press conference giving updates on the I-95 collapse in Philadelphia, June 20, 2023. (6abc)

Now Philadelphia’s Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker, also a Democrat, will build her own administration to start work in January 2024.

Business owners told WHYY News they will pay attention to how Parker implements her vision, especially the sense of urgency to improve the city and build its tax base as a city with fewer large privately held companies compared to similar markets.

Many business leaders over the past year — on the campaign trail for the city’s 100th mayor — have lamented about the city’s ease of doing business under the Jim Kenney administration, which had many efforts initially derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic that began four years ago.

  • November 20, 2023
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