Five for Friday: Cherelle Parker’s executive orders six months in

Parker has used executive orders early and often to push her campaign priorities

Mayor Cherelle Parker Signs Three Public Safety Bills

Mayor Cherelle Parker Signs Three Public Safety Bills Chris Mansfield | PHL City Council

Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker has sought to hit the ground running in her first few months in office. Now – just a week after her intensely scrutinized Kensington “resolution” pushed people out of encampments and open-air drug markets – Parker is again pushing her efforts to clean up the city. 

Parker signed an executive order Friday to formally establish the Clean and Green Cabinet, which will coordinate quality-of-life and cleanup efforts among city agencies, community partners, and businesses. 

This isn’t the first time Parker has exercised her executive power to push her priorities. City & State has your Five for Friday, breaking down five of Parker’s first several executive orders – and what they mean for Philadelphia. 

Public Safety Emergency

Parker began her historic tenure by signing three executive orders on her first day in office – including one declaring a public safety emergency. In doing so, the first woman and Black woman to hold the mayor’s office did what her predecessor, former Mayor Jim Kenney, consistently declined to do in declaring an emergency. 

The order directed Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel, Managing Director Adam Thiel and other city officials to develop a comprehensive strategy, using every available resource, to combat and prevent violent crime, including in neighborhoods like Kensington. That order also called for the police commissioner to provide a report on how to reduce crime within the first 100 days of the administration – a call that resulted in a Parker’s 100th-day press event where she detailed some public safety plans. 

College Degree Requirement

Another day-one executive order sought to expand economic opportunities for residents by removing barriers to city employment, including ending the college degree requirement as a prerequisite for employment. 

Parker said the move – which eliminated the degree and standardized test requirement for certain city jobs – will open positions to otherwise qualified potential applicants. The order also expanded efforts related to civil service positions, which Parker said comprise roughly 92% of city jobs, to identify ways for candidates to demonstrate needed skills and to use time and experience assessments rather than written exams whenever possible. 

Separation of L&I

Just over a month into the office, Parker signed another executive order, separating the oft-criticized Department of Licenses and Inspections into two divisions. The move created one department to focus on inspections, safety and compliance and another to focus on “quality of life” issues and business code enforcement. 

Parker also made the change following her announcement she was separating the Streets Department into two divisions as well – with one focusing on streets and another on sanitation. In response, Parker said she’s a “different mayor” with a “different style” and wanted to ensure agencies aren’t inundated or stifled by “mission creep.”

Vision Zero Campaign

Once settled into her administration, Parker looked to reaffirm her commitment to pedestrian safety by signing an executive order in March to focus on strategies to eliminate fatal crashes and reach the Vision Zero goal of zero traffic deaths by 2050. The order directed the Office of Multimodal Planning to assist in developing, reviewing and publishing all checklists called for in the city’s Complete Streets ordinance from 2013 and to update the High Injury Network and set goals for safety improvements to every mile of the HIN by 2030. 

But just last week, advocates spoke out against Parker’s budget proposal, which would spend less money on traffic calming. Her budget proposes a sharp drop in city spending on road safety projects, with $9 million in investment in safer streets over six years, down from the $15 million Kenney had proposed. Kenney’s last budget allocated $2.5 million toward safer streets, while Parker has proposed just $1 million for 2025. 

Clean and Green Cabinet

The latest executive order is another seeking to boost efforts related to quality of life and neighborhood improvements. Parker has long touted her “clean and green” vision for the city and the need to distance Philadelphia from the “Filthadelphia” moniker it has developed. 

On Friday, Parker signed an executive order formally establishing the Clean and Green cabinet, led by former Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams, to focus on neighborhood cleanliness and the expansion of her Taking Care of Business commercial corridor cleaning program. The cabinet, in addition to overseeing the expansion of the initiative that pays community-based nonprofits to clean commercial corridors, will work on removing abandoned vehicles, environmental stewardship initiatives, anti-litter campaigns and more. 

Parker said that while a data-driven approach is important, government work that people can “see with (their) own eyes and feel in (their) own neighborhood” is vital to showing residents that promises are being kept. 

“All Philadelphians want a safer, greener and cleaner city,” she said Friday.