Last week, the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA), the state watchdog responsible for monitoring Philadelphia’s finances, saw a changing of the guard as executive director Harvey Rice retired. Stepping into his shoes is Marisa Waxman, the city’s former budget director, who brings a wealth of operational experience to the role.

During his tenure, Rice improved reporting on revenues and expenses, addressing concerns about the city exceeding its overtime budget. One of his accomplishments was devising a plan to reduce police overtime for court appearances.

PICA, established in 1991 during a severe economic crisis, has played a crucial role in helping Philadelphia maintain balanced budgets for the past 25 years, even through challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Waxman, who used to explain the city’s position in response to PICA’s reports, will take on the role of executive director, issuing reports and making recommendations.

With city finances currently in good shape, Waxman anticipates challenges ahead, including the end of federal COVID-related funds, upcoming labor contracts, and a substantial payment due for a pension obligation bond in FY29.

Despite the challenges, Waxman is committed to continuing the tradition of PICA’s valuable support for the city, ensuring financial stability.