The City, Mayor and Protesters Have Forgotten What ACCT is — And That’s Important

In an article about the protest today a sentence in the Mayor’s statement stood out to us:

Finally, we added $100,000 for ACCT’s operating budget in FY20, which is still awaiting final approval from City Council. 

Now, we need to ask you: when did ACCT become a department of the City of Philadelphia?

ACCT is not a city department. It is a “Pennsylvania Nonprofit Corporation” according to its bylaws. It has a contract with the city. It’s even listed on the City’s website as a contracted entity.

ACCT Contract

But if ACCT was truly a nonprofit corporation that the city contracted, the mayor SHOULD have stated that fact. He should have made a statement that says that there is a signed contract with ACCT for these services.

But he didn’t. He talked about the City’s operating budget still awaiting approval.

So ACCT is a city entity. That would make the employees City employees and give them the same benefits, pay rates and pensions as all other city employees. And when ACCT runs out of money, the City would need to either give them more money or shut it down. After all, when the sanitation department runs out of money, they don’t stop picking up trash. They don’t have a gala to raise money so they continue to pick up trash. They aren’t putting up gofundme campaigns for new tires on the trash trucks.

Because the City cares more about its trash than the animals. And because they are NOT a city department.

They are an independent corporation that the City contracts. And as such, they should be able to negotiate the terms of said contract. After all, a contract is defined as a “voluntary, deliberate, and legally binding agreement between two or more competent parties.”

But ACCT doesn’t have a voluntary contract. The City dictates the terms of the contract and the amount they will pay for these services. And even if there was the suggestion of negotiating the contract, we need to remember that the head of the board is a City employee.

So the City negotiates with itself. And ACCT is caught in the crossfire.

And let’s talk about why the head of the board is a city employee. It’s not required or even stated in the by-laws. The by-laws state, “The Mayor shall appoint the Chair of the Corporation. The Chair shall serve for a term of two years and serve until his/her successor is appointed and qualified.”

So it’s not required. The mayor could appoint anyone else to be the chair. And we need to talk about why the mayor has any say in a nonprofit corporation that is NOT part of the city is beyond us. But the bylaws can be changed. How?

The Board of Directors, by a vote of a majority of those present at a meeting at which a quorum is present, shall have the power to make, alter, amend or repeal these By-Laws in a manner not inconsistent with the Articles of Incorporation or with the law.

So the Board has the power to change the bylaws.

It all boils down to this:

Is ACCT part of the City of Philadelphia or not? If it is, then it should have the same rights and privileges as the other departments. If it is not, then it should be able to reject the City’s contract (like PSPCA did once upon a time) and renegotiate. 

It’s time the City makes a choice.  

 

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