The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority – which regularly uses its power of eminent domain – will have a new chairperson. Labor Leader John Dougherty, who recently lost his bid for State Senate, announced that he will step down as chairman of the RDA. His term was not slated to end until early next year. The stated reason for his resignation is to provide Mayor Nutter, who took office this year, with the opportunity to select his own chairperson.
Dougherty was appointed to the RDA chairmanship shortly after Mayor John Street took office in 2000. Dougherty was a major supporter of Street and did not support Nutter in last year’s primary.
The RDA was very active during the Street Administration. It was the main governmental vehicle for his anti-blight program, the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative. It regularly used its power of eminent domain and condemned thousands of parcels of property citywide.
Mayor Nutter has stated that the authority will play an important role in his administration. However, he has not provided many details. Nutter said he would appoint a successor to Dougherty and fill an existing vacancy on the five-member board as soon as possible.