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Philadelphia City Commission Begins Its Post-Tartaglione Era

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A new and different Philadelphia City Commission -- the panel that oversees voter registration and elections in Philadelphia -- held its first meeting today in a new era without Marge Tartaglione, who ran the commission with an iron fist for decades.

Beginning during the Rizzo administration, and for more than 35 years since, the Philadelphia City Commission was run by Tartaglione, but she lost her reelection effort in last May's primary to Democratic ward leader Stephanie Singer (see related story).

Now, in a low-key event, the two other members of the commission have elected Singer (at right in photo) as their chairwoman.

Republican Al Schmidt, another new commissioner (center of photo), was named secretary.

Commissioner Anthony Clark was the only returning member of the three-member board.

By most accounts, Tartaglione's participation in the controversial "DROP" pension plan -- which paid her $288,000 for a one-day, so-called "retirement" -- did her in.

"I think the voters were very, very upset about her ethics," Commissioner Singer told KYW Newsradio today.

Moving on to issues, Singer promised to fight against a proposed state law that would require voters to produce photo IDs at the polls.

"This bill is a waste of money -- it's hogwash from top to bottom," she said.

Critics say the proposed legislation is a GOP-backed effort designed to create a voting roadblock for poor people, who are a traditional stronghold of the Democratic Party.


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