Alan Butkovitz

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Alan L. Butkovitz
Alan Butkovitz 2013.jpg
Philadelphia City Controller
Assumed office
January 2, 2006
Preceded by Jonathan Saidel
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 174th district
In office
January 1, 1991[1] – December 31, 2005[2]
Preceded by Max Pievsky
Succeeded by John Sabatina
Constituency Part of Philadelphia County
Personal details
Born (1952-04-15) April 15, 1952 (age 65)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Theresa
Children Rachel and Edward
Residence Castor Gardens, Northeast Philadelphia
Alma mater Temple University and Temple Law School

Alan L. Butkovitz is the City Controller of Philadelphia. As the city's chief financial watchdog, Butkovitz is in charge of auditing all city departments, including the budgets of City Council and the mayor.[3] Butkovitz, a Democrat, was formerly a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Office of City Controller[edit]

The Office of City Controller is located at the Municipal Services Building, across from Philadelphia City Hall. It has nine divisions, including Pre-Audit, Post-Audit, and Community and Legal Affairs. The term of City Controller is four years, with no term limits. Importantly, the City Controller is elected independently of the mayor and City Council, allowing the Controller to work free of the politics and interests endogenous in other city government agencies.

Tenure as Controller[edit]

Currently in his third term as Philadelphia’s chief fiscal watchdog, City Controller Alan Butkovitz remains focused on exposing as much waste, fraud and mismanagement as possible, while making recommendations to do more with less - and saving taxpayers' millions. All of his reports, in both summary and verbatim form, are published online.[4]

These reports include the precedent breaking forensic audit of the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office that uncovered millions of dollars in questionable financial transactions and led to a complete structural and procedural overhaul of the Sheriff’s Office. Findings by Controller Butkovitz's office became the essential components that allowed the U.S. Attorney to file criminal charges against employees and others connected to the Sheriff’s Office.[5] In 2013, the City of Philadelphia filed a civil lawsuit against former Sheriff John Green to recover tens of millions of wasted taxpayer funds that were discovered as a result of the audit.[6]

Other firsts for the City Controller’s Office under Butkovitz’ leadership include:

  • Conducting one of country’s most extensive investigations into charter school operations, which uncovered numerous cases of financial mismanagement questionable spending practices and fraud and abuse, all at the expense of taxpayers.
  • Implementing the city’s first employee withholding program to collect delinquent taxes, which generated almost $4 million in collections from delinquent taxes owed.
  • 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.[7]

Since elected City Controller, his investigations and audits have identified more than $700 million in potential revenues and savings for the city. He has proposed hundreds of recommendations to improve the delivery of city services, aimed at making them more efficient and cost-effective.[8]

Butkovitz won national recognition for his audit of Philadelphia's Emergency Medical Service (EMS) - which found EMS units were arriving late forty percent of the time - and made recommendations for the city to re-coup millions in lost revenues from private insurance carriers.[9]

He was widely praised for his groundbreaking audit of the city's Minority Business Enterprise Council (MBEC) that found MBEC had failed in its mission to remove barriers to minority participation in city contracts.[10] 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.[8] He also initiated the Bank on Philadelphia program that works with community and financial partners to provide financial literacy and access to mainstream banking for “unbanked” Philadelphians.[8]

His Executive Staff includes First Deputy City Controller Bill Rubin, Post Audit Deputy City Controller Gerald Micciulla and Pre Audit Deputy City Controller John Thomas.[8]


Butkovitz won the 2005 Democratic Primary Election for Controller with 96% of the vote over John L Braxton. He went on to win the General Election, taking 72% of the vote in a three-way race.

During his 2009 re-election campaign, Butkovitz faced Braxton and Brett Mandel in the Democratic Primary and claimed victory with 42% of the vote (a 12% margin over 2nd place Braxton). He defeated Republican Al Schmidt in the General Election, taking 72% of the vote.

Butkovitz again faced two Democratic Primary opponents in 2013 - Mandel and Mark Zecca. In a primary where nearly $1 million was spent, Butkovitz was victorious and took 61% of the vote (a 30% margin over 2nd place Mandel).[11] He defeated Republican Terry Tracy in the General Election by taking 82% of the vote.[12]

Butkovitz ran for reelection in the 2017 primary against Rebecca Rhynhart, a former cabinet official of Mayor Jim Kenney. Butkovitz was expected to cruise against the lesser-known Rhynhart, but instead, he was crushed on election day, 58%-41%. [13]

Pennsylvania Assembly[edit]

Prior to be elected as City Controller in 2005, Butkovitz served 15 years representing the 174th legislative district in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he acquired a reputation for independence, hard work, and innovative ideas.[8] Butkovitz was also widely praised for leading a three-year bipartisan investigation into violence in Philadelphia public school that 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 and monitor the School District of Philadelphia’s compliance with the Safe Schools Act.[8]

During his first term, Butkovitz fought against his party's leadership to successfully repeal a tax requiring senior citizens to include social security, pensions, and veteran's benefits as taxable income.[8] In November 2005, he was elected Philadelphia City Controller and resigned his legislative seat effective December 31, 2005.[2]

Early career[edit]

Prior to holding elected office, Butkovitz was a prominent Philadelphia attorney handling civil, criminal and environmental coverage cases. In 1980, he won a first amendment case in U.S District Court Third Circuit that opened up the Mummers Parade to women, minorities, and new entrants.[14]

He was a partner at Gold, Butkovitz & Robbins P.C until his election has City Controller in 2005.


Alan Butkovitz at Moore College of Design

Butkovitz is a 1969 graduate of Overbrook High School in Philadelphia.[15] He graduated from Temple University in 1973 and earned a J.D. from Temple University School of Law in 1976.[15]

Ward leader[edit]

Butkovitz is Ward Leader of the 54th Ward Democratic Executive Committee.[16]


  1. ^ "SESSION OF 1991 - 175TH OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY - No. 1" (PDF). Legislative Journal. Pennsylvania House of Representatives. 1991-01-01. 
  2. ^ a b "SESSION OF 2005 - 189TH OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY - No. 80" (PDF). Legislative Journal. Pennsylvania House of Representatives. 2005-12-20. 
  3. ^ Archived from the original on April 20, 2009. Retrieved July 20, 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ [1] Archived September 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ [2] Archived July 22, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "City sues ex-sheriff Green over millions in sale proceeds - philly-archives". 2013-04-19. Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  7. ^ Archived from the original on April 14, 2009. Retrieved June 16, 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Alan Butkovitz, City Controller". Biography of City Controller Alan Butkovitz. City of Philadelphia. Archived from the original on April 14, 2009. 
  9. ^ [3] Archived January 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Philadelphia Tribune Editorial (2013-05-19). "Re-elect Butkovitz for City Controller - The Philadelphia Tribune: Commentary". Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  11. ^ "City Controller Butkovitz clinches primary win by 2-to-1 margin - philly-archives". 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  12. ^ "Seth Williams, Alan Butkovitz cruise to victories - philly-archives". 2013-11-07. Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  13. ^ "Rhynhart beats Butkovitz in controller’s race upset". 2017-05-17. Retrieved 2017-09-12. 
  14. ^ [4] Archived August 9, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ a b "Alan L. Butkovitz (Democrat)". Official Pennsylvania House of Representatives Profile. Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Archived from the original on 2006-01-10. 
  16. ^ Committee of Seventy (2009-12-21). "2009 Citizen's Guide" (PDF). 2009 Citizen's Guide. The Committee of Seventy, Philadelphia, PA 19103. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-04-19. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 

External links[edit]