In his third term as Philadelphia’s chief fiscal watchdog, City Controller Alan Butkovitz remains focused on exposing waste, fraud and mismanagement throughout government – while making recommendations to do more with less and saving taxpayers' millions. His efforts, many unprecedented, have identified more than $800 million in potential revenues and savings for the city.
This includes the forensic audit of the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office that uncovered millions of dollars in questionable financial transactions and led to a complete overhaul of the Sheriff’s Office. Findings from the Controller’s forensic audit allowed the U.S. Attorney to file criminal charges against employees and others connected to the Sheriff’s Office.
Under his leadership, the Controller’s Office has been recognized nationally for many investigations and initiatives which have included:
- conducting one of country’s most extensive investigations into charter school operations, which uncovered numerous cases of financial mismanagement questionable spending practices,
- implementing the city’s first employee withholding program to collect delinquent taxes, which generated almost $4 million in collections from delinquent taxes owed; and
- launching the nation’s first fraud reporting app for smartphones that has allowed citizens to report fraud and waste (including video and photos) directly to the Controller’s Fraud Unit.
As a member of the Philadelphia Pension Board, he provides oversight of investment strategies and ensures fiscal stability of the City’s $11 billion pension fund. Butkovitz proposed a solution to significantly reduce the unfunded liability by offering pensioners a voluntary, one-time cash buyout and converting them to a lower-cost plan.
His financial policy studies have led to a number of city-wide initiatives including job growth opportunities for neighborhood businesses to connect with large educational and medical institutions, analyzing the economic impact of expanding Philadelphia’s shipping industry, and examining the state of retirement security and providing strategies to improve the future outlook for all Philadelphians.
Many of his reports have won national recognition including the audit of the Philadelphia Emergency Medical Service units, which were found to be arriving late 40 percent of the time, the review of Licenses and Inspections’ oversight for demolitions, and the performance audit of the Provisional Ballots cast in the 2012 Presidential Election.
He was widely praised for his groundbreaking audit of the city's Minority Business Enterprise Council (MBEC) that found it had failed to remove barriers to minority participation in city contracts. He led the fight to divest Philadelphia pension funds from companies doing business in Sudan because of the Sudanese government's genocide against their own people in the Darfur region. He also initiated the Bank on Philadelphia program to provide financial education to all Philadelphians and established a mentor program to provide students the opportunity to gain real-life working experience on conducting audits and investigations.
Prior to being elected as City Controller in 2005, Butkovitz served 15 years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives where he acquired a reputation for independence, hard work, and innovative ideas. He was also widely praised for leading a three-year bipartisan investigation into violence in Philadelphia public schools, which led to creating the Office of the Safe School Advocate, the first of its kind in the nation with the authority to fight for victims of school violence.
Alan Butkovitz was born and raised in Philadelphia. He is a graduate of Overbrook High School, Temple University and Temple University School of Law. He lives in Northeast Philadelphia with his wife Theresa.