According to the Delaware Valley Journal, the receiver assigned to the City of Chester has some work to do before he can make decisions on city business. 

In a court filing from last week, receiver Michael Doweary and his attorneys at the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) asked a Commonwealth judge for a firm ruling on whether the receiver has the power to hire and fire, to shift some full-time positions to part-time, restructure departments, and create the office of chief operating officer.

A spokesperson for the city says, the city is pressing its rights to maintain what it sees as its lawful authority through the process and that the city of Chester is a unique municipality that is governed according to the Third Class City Code and our Home-Rule Charter, and as such, there are certain powers within those guidelines that cannot be superseded by the state.

We recall the other challenge the receiver received from the Chester Stormwater Authority where solicitor Joseph Oxman for the stormwater authority stated “You do not have oversight over the Chester Water Authority and you do not have oversight over the Stormwater Authority.” It doesn’t seem the receiver is challenging his oversight over the Authorities, but, who knows, maybe he’ll ask the Commonwealth judge to rule on that in the future. 

The Delaware Valley Journal also mentions that in the Municipal Financial Recovery Advisory Committee Meeting (December 22, 2020) on facebook.com/cityofchester, the chief of staff for receiver Doweary’s team hopes to have their version of a 2021 city budget approved by next week. Not mentioned in the article, or elsewhere, is approval has to come from Chester City Council. It will be interesting to see if the city will stick with their already approved preliminary budget for 2021 or approve the receiver’s new and amended preliminary budget for 2021. 

I don’t think the state would have sent the receiver to Chester without the authority to make changes, but I guess we have to see what the judge thinks. If the receiver doesn’t get the judge’s firm ruling in their favor, what’s the point of a receiver being here?