"In Visible Dignity" by Josh Sarantitis, Center City (Instagram/@pixeljawn)

What does the mayor actually do? An overview of the job

As Philadelphia prepares to elect its 100th mayor, there’s an unusually high number of people contending for the position. But what does the job entail?

  • Philly has a “strong mayor” government, which basically means the mayor has a big chunk of power independent from anything Council does or approves.

To get a real sense of the duties, Asha Prihar talked to former administration officials and took a spin through the city charter. Here’s what she found.

Detail of the mantelpiece in the Mayor's Reception Room at Philadelphia City Hall. (Bradley Maule/Philly Skyline)

Philly almost spent Ben Franklin's money on a concert

In 1790, Benjamin Franklin willed 1,000 pounds sterling to Philadelphia to “be useful even after my death.” But it couldn't be used until 200 years later.

  • How should Philly spend the half million it ended up with? Officials proposed throwing a concertfeaturing BEN Vereen and Aretha FRANKLIN (get it?). Public debate ensued.

Join Avi Wolfman-Arent in his latest Headlines of Yore history dive to follow the money and see how it all turned out.

Ben Franklin portrait by by Joseph Duplessis in 1776; Aretha Franklin Aretha Franklin sings “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee'” at the U.S. Capitol during the 56th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2009. (Wikimedia Commons)

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

• Did you send in a mail ballot for the Philly primary election? Search the City Commissioners' list of 1,400 names to make sure it doesn't have inadvertent errors that could keep your vote from being counted. [Thetelegraphfield]

• How do the top mayoral candidates feel about public transit? The SEPTA Citizen Advisory Commission (established 1967) received responses only from the three women; here's the summary of answers from Gym, Parker, and Rhynhart. [SEPTA/PDF]

• Go deeper with the Pa. primary judicial hopefuls thanks to these outside-the-paywall Q&As with 15 of the 19 Philly candidates and 7 of 9 appellate court candidates. [Law.com]

• One of the two men who escaped from a Philly prison last weekend was recaptured Thursday in North Philadelphia. A 21-year-old woman was also arrested for aiding their escape. [Thetelegraphfield]

• The Inquirer is apparently dealing with a cyberattack that scrambled operations and forced the news org to use an early layout for its Sunday print edition. The FBI is helping investigate the disruption. [Inquirer$]

• What better place for a mural depicting aquatic life in the Delaware River than Fishtown? A local scientist, artist, and Kensington students brought the 115-foot-wide mural to life in just over a month. [Streets Dept]

• Welp. The Sixers lost Game 7 to the Celtics in embarrassing fashion, with stars Embiid and Harden both held to minimal points and raising questions about the team's future. [ESPN/Rights to Ricky Sanchez]


The District Attorney's Office will deploy its annual Election Task Force on Tuesday to address any legal questions or alleged shenanigans during voting, and Mayor Kenney hosts DA Krasner and PPD Commissioner Outlaw at City Hall to announce details (10 a.m.).

Afternoon brings Kenney to Outlaw's house, police HQ on North Broad, where they'll announce PPD summer operations and give an update on recent crime stats (2:45 p.m.).


🍷 Pasaeli is a family-owned winery in Turkey, and a handful are distributed in Pa. Jet Wine Bar on South Street West pours them at a special happy hour benefitting World Central Kitchen. (6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 17)

🚲 Friday is National Bike to Work Day, and the Bicycle Coalition hosts a trio of group rides starting in West, North, and South Philly, all of which converge on City Hall around 9 a.m. Free RSVP. (8 a.m. Friday, May 19)

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