WHEREAS, The City of Philadelphia has no formal, open and uniform competitive process for the awarding of professional services contracts (including contracts for legal services) or other non-competitively bid contracts, nor does the City restrict the amount of political contributions that individuals or businesses awarded such contracts can give to elected officials or candidates for public office;
WHEREAS, the absence of such a uniform competitive process - - in combination with significant contributions by some contract recipients - - has created an appearance that individuals and businesses interested in providing goods and services under no-bid contracts must pay to play by providing campaign contributions, gifts and other favors to elected officials and the politically well-connected;
WHEREAS, the City's perceived "pay to play" culture has been widely reported in numerous media articles, as well as publicized in the ongoing federal investigation into, inter alia, the awarding of no-bid contracts which has led to multiple indictments and convictions;
WHEREAS, the City of Philadelphia City Council has passed, and the Mayor of Philadelphia has signed, Bill No. 040772-AA, Amending Title 17 of the Philadelphia Code to establish a uniform and comprehensive process for the awarding of no-bid contracts let by City departments, agencies, authorities and quasi-public corporations associated with the City;
WHEREAS, Bill No. 040772-AA also restricts the amounts of political contributions individuals and businesses seeking no-bid contracts from the City can give to candidates, incumbents and political action committees in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania;
WHEREAS, Bill No. 040772-AA requires that the proposed Amendments to Title 17 are effective only after an amendment to Section 8-200 of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter is approved by City voters in a referendum set for November 8, 2005;
WHEREAS, the passage of this change to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter by City voters would establish a more transparent, orderly and fair process for the awarding of no-bid contracts, including legal services contracts, with the intended result of changing the perception of the "pay to play" culture and restoring public trust in the contracting process.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association supports the approval by the voters of the referendum question amending Section 8-200 of the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Philadelphia Bar Association authorizes the Chancellor, or his designee, to take all necessary steps to publicize the Association's support for this amendment and to work with other organizations to campaign for its passage.PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION