With jobs lagging, Council seeks change

City Council approved the creation of a Jobs Commission that will go before voters in the May 17 primary.

The 17-member commission — composed of nine mayoral appointees and eight appointees from the Council president — would be responsible for coming up with a comprehensive strategy to improve Philadelphia’s 11.2 percent unemployment rate. The commission must go before voters because it is considered a charter amendment.

City Councilman Darrell Clarke, who sponsored the amendment, said the group would be different from the Commerce Department headed by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger.

“They don’t have, frankly speaking, the involvement of any government entities or any people outside the Commerce Department,” Clarke said. “What we’re talking about is a much broader approach to coming up with a strategy for job creation.”

Clarke said he would like to see involvement from local colleges, Chambers of Commerce, developers, union leaders and others.

If approved, the Commission would convene in 30 days and appoint a full-time executive director. Their first charge would be to provide a written report by January.

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