December 13, 2013– Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced a series of senior Administration appointments and one departure today.
Thomas Knudsen, Chief Revenue Collections Officer, will be leaving the Administration. He was appointed in April 2013 to dramatically increase the collection of all forms of revenue owed to the City. As Chief Revenue Collections Officer, Mr. Knudsen aided in establishing a receivership program for increasing property tax collections, initiated the process of centralizing non-tax collections, and worked tirelessly to ensure that the Revenue Department increased collections to benefit the Philadelphia School District (PSD) by at least $28 million.
“Tom’s expertise and guidance has been essential as we have intensified our collection efforts,” said Mayor Nutter. “Our successes over the last eight months, and those that will follow in the future, would not have been possible without him. I am greatly appreciative of his service to the City of Philadelphia and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Assuming the responsibilities of Chief Revenue Collections Officer, Revenue Commissioner Clarena I. W. Tolson was appointed Chief Collections Officer & Revenue Commissioner by Mayor Nutter. As Revenue Commissioner, Ms. Tolson has worked closely with Mr. Knudsen to create a cohesive collection system. Ms. Tolson brings to the department thirty years of public service experience – knowledge which will drive innovation with the goal of maximizing revenues for Philadelphia’s school and City services.
“We had always envisioned that when Tom Knudsen joined the Administration in April, his position would be temporary as he worked to establish a framework for increased, efficient collections of all money owed to the City,” said Finance Director Rob Dubow. “Thanks to Tom’s hard work, we have now reached the point at which we can successfully combine both responsibilities within one position overseeing the Revenue Department. Clarena Tolson will bring excellent management skills and intense focus to the combined role of Chief Collections Officer and Revenue Commissioner.”
Additionally, Mayor Nutter named David Perri, P.E. as the new Commissioner for the Streets Department. Mr. Perri accepted the position of Acting Streets Commissioner when Mayor Nutter appointed former Streets Commissioner Tolson to Revenue Commissioner on April 3, 2013. Prior to accepting the position of Acting Streets Commissioner, Mr. Perri served as Deputy Commissioner for Transportation in the Streets Department, overseeing road and bridge construction, traffic control and street and alley lighting. Mr. Perri also served as a Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Licenses and Inspections. Since becoming Acting Streets Commissioner in April, Mr. Perri has provided a seamless transition in a department that provides assistance in many of the City’s vital quality of life issues like snow clearing and street paving.
Mayor Nutter also announced that Brian Abernathy, Interim Executive Director at the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA), has been appointed as the permanent Executive Director. Before joining the PRA, Mr. Abernathy served as the City Managing Director’s Chief of Staff and as an aide to Councilman Frank DiCicco. In his role as Executive Director, Mr. Abernathy manages the City’s financing of affordable housing projects, oversees PRA’s housing and economic development initiatives, as well as its Percent for Art program. Mr. Abernathy also manages PhillyLandWorks, the single point-of-contact for the sale of publicly owned property, and in the coming months, he will focus on transitioning this system and its properties to Philadelphia’s new Land Bank.