DCED at the helm while search continues for Hbg. receiverJason Scott
Fred Reddig, executive director of the Center for Local Government Services at the state Department of Community and Economic Development, has been named the temporary administrator of the Office of the Receiver for debt-ridden Harrisburg.
Gov. Tom Corbett on Tuesday designated DCED to run the office until a new fiscal overseer is appointed and confirmed to the post last month vacated by David Unkovic.
The Commonwealth Court in December appointed Unkovic, who had served as chief counsel at DCED. He abruptly resigned March 30, citing "political and ethical crosswinds."
DCED Secretary C. Alan Walker chose Reddig to lead the effort, Reddig said this morning at the first meeting of the city's municipal financial recovery advisory committee.
Created last year as part of an amendment to the Act 47 law, the advisory committee tentatively will meet every other Wednesday morning through the end of the year.
Other than Reddig, the committee includes Mayor Linda Thompson, City Council President Wanda Williams and representatives of Dauphin County and the governor.
The governor named Dave Black, president and CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and Capital Region Economic Development Corp., to the advisory post.
Reddig insisted he is not the acting receiver and that the governor is working "expeditiously" to find a suitable candidate to replace Unkovic.
Meanwhile, officials are moving ahead on initiatives in the preliminary recovery plan approved last month by the court. The firms invited to submit proposals to buy the city's incinerator, lease the parking facilities and manage water and wastewater assets have started to do so and plan reviews are under way, he said.
Roughly 25 individuals are engaged at various parts of the process to keep it on track, Reddig said. Those individuals are part of recovery teams who advise on asset deals and labor issues.
Some of those members include attorneys at Washington, D.C.-based McKenna Long & Aldridge, the firm hired as the receiver's consultant, as well as DCED consultant The Novak Consulting Group, based in Cincinnati; the Pennsylvania Economy League; and Reading-based law firm Stevens & Lee.
Unkovic's plan called for the valuation of the aforementioned assets this spring and to come back to the court in June with a more comprehensive plan that also includes favorable concessions from the city's three unions who have contracts in place through 2014, 2015 and 2016.
He said his goal was to have deals worked out with the unions, asset deals in place and negotiations with creditors ironed out before coming back to the court with an amended recovery plan.
Within the court-approved plan there is language that says the plan will need to be modified and a new receiver will be needed to make the necessary modifications, said Steven Kratz, a DCED spokesman.
The Unkovic timeline is in doubt with his departure. Reddig said he did not know how quickly an appointee would surface.
The process for confirmation will be the same as before with the Commonwealth Court being required to hold a hearing within 15 days of a recommendation. The court then has 60 days to make a decision.
"All is stable," Thompson said after the 30-minute meeting, adding that leadership remains in place and the recovery effort is moving forward.
Harrisburg is saddled with more than $300 million of incinerator debt and faces annual structural deficits with revenue failing to keep pace with expenses.
The committee meets again April 25.