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Who Is Rebecca Rhynhart?

The transparency-focused former City Controller has worked for mayors Jim Kenney and Michael Nutter — and now wants their job for herself. Here’s what you need to know about her so you can make an informed vote in May.

Who Is Rebecca Rhynhart?

The transparency-focused former City Controller has worked for mayors Jim Kenney and Michael Nutter — and now wants their job for herself. Here’s what you need to know about her so you can make an informed vote in May.

When City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart declared her bid for mayor in late October 2022, she did so with statistical knowledge of Philadelphia’s greatest problems — and a long list of ways to fix them. A controller’s job is to perform financial audits of the Mayor and City Council and to investigate important ways members of city government are — and are not — following rules, laws, and best practices. Rhynhart, however, went further.

Rhynhart became the first woman to win the City Controller job in 2017 upon defeating incumbent Alan Butkovitz. Before that, the Abington native was Mayor Jim Kenney’s chief administrative officer, Mayor Michael Nutter’s city treasurer and then budget director, and, before all that, a managing director at Bear Stearns in New York.

When Rhynhart took her most recent job, she viewed her role as figuring out how to save Philadelphians money. She did this, and more — such as creating an up-to-date, interactive map of gun violence in Philly that we at The Citizen refer to on the daily.

One week before she announced her bid for mayor, Rhynhart’s office released a City Council-requested audit of the Philadelphia Police Department’s budget. The report detailed highest-in-the-nation personnel costs, nonperformance of the PPD’s primary crime-fighting strategy, lack of community involvement, outdated administrative practices, and intractable systems. It also provided recommendations to overhaul the department’s programs and operations.

The one big thing Rhynhart could not do as City Controller: Implement the solutions that her department came up with. (Not her fault: Her role was to report, not enact.) Should she become mayor, however, she says fighting gun violence and litter will be her top priorities.

What else we know about Rebecca Rhynhart

City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart at budget meeting
Photo courtesy Jared Piper / Philadelphia City Council

Under Rhynhart’s direction, the Controller’s office has researched and reported on:

  1. PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT’S BUDGET and operations, detailing the PPD’s outdated practices, ineffective programs and policies, and misuse of funds.
  2. THE CITY’S BOTCHED RESPONSE TO BLM PROTESTS in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020
  3. THE VACCINATION ROLLOUT DISASTER that was Philly Fighting Covid
  4. ABYSMAL TRASH COLLECTION during the pandemic, especially in communities of color
  5. A PLAN TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE, in partnership with Jamie Gauthier
  6. A COMPREHENSIVE SPENDING PLAN for Philly’s $1.4 billion slice of the American Rescue Fund
  7. CITY HALL’S BUDGET-BUSTING MANAGERIAL INCOMPETENCE under Mayor Kenney
  8. HOW TO ESTABLISH FISCAL TRANSPARENCY within City operations
  9. THE CASE OF THE MISSING $33 MILLION from City bank accounts

Citizen coverage on Rebecca Rhynhart

2022: Rebecca Rhynhart Shares Her Stance On Smarter Policing in Philly 

2021: Rhynhart Report Makes It Official — Trash Pickup Is Terrible in Philly

2021: Rebecca Rhynhart’s Plan For Spending Our $1.4 Billion Recovery Funds

2021: How Rebecca Rhynhart Plans to Fight Gun Violence 

2021: Rhynhart Releases Reports on Philly Fighting Covid and George Floyd Protests 

2020: Rebecca Rhynhart Speaks Out on Kenney’s Historic Spending Spree

2020: Rhynhart Calls For More Transparency in Government Spending 

2018: Rebecca Rhynhart on the City’s Missing Millions 

2017: Rebecca Rhynhart Hopes Reform Is Part of City Controller Election

Videos featuring Rebecca Rhynhart

More ways to learn about Rebecca Rhynhart

Former Philadelphia city controller and 2023 mayoral candidate Rebecca Rhynhart
Photo courtesy Rebecca Rhynhart Campaign

Visit Rebecca Rhynhart’s campaign website.

Follow Rhynhart on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

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The Philadelphia Citizen updates this profile and all our Philadelphia mayoral candidate profiles on a regular basis.

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Header photo by Jared Piper

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