PA House passes HB666, allows Philadelphia Housing Authority to negotiate performance-based contracts

HARRISBURG, May 1 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed H.B. 666 today by a vote of 172-29.

This legislation would remove the requirement in the Housing Authorities Law that executive members of the Philadelphia Housing Authority be “at will” employees, enabling the PHA board to negotiate performance-based contracts and compensation arrangements.

“This brings the Philadelphia Housing Authority back into alignment with the other 89 public housing authorities in Pennsylvania,” said state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., the bill’s prime sponsor. “We cannot hope to retain talent, be competitive with other major cities and keep our public housing authority on an upward trajectory if it’s not even legally allowed to compete for executive level staff.”

The provisions requiring PHA executive members to be “at will” employees were primarily established in 2011 in response to governance issues with the city housing authority under a prior city administration and previous PHA board. The board was dissolved and the PHA was put in the hands of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under an administrative receivership until 2013.

In nine years since, the PHA and its new board have operated to high standards and earned the trust of stakeholders, Bullock said.