Distressed Cities

State and Local Government

Together with professionals from our platform affiliates, we provide legal and financial consulting services and financial process audits to municipalities in Pennsylvania and beyond. The depth of our knowledge in this area of the law has led to our engagement by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) on behalf of several distressed cities to assist in developing and implementing a financial restructuring plan under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Financial Recovery Act (Act 47).

We have served as Act 47 coordinator in connection with the City of Shamokin Act 47 Recovery Plan (2014), the City of Altoona Act 47 Recovery Plan (2012), the City of Harrisburg Act 47 Recovery Plan (2011) and the City of Reading Act 47 Recovery Plan (2010). Some of the services our multidisciplinary team has performed on behalf of DCED for cities in Act 47 include:

  • Provided legal counsel to the Act 47 team in connection with statutory and case law as applicable to the development and implementation phases of the Recovery Plan, including preparing and reviewing documents and notices necessary to comply with the Act 47 statute
  • Reviewed a broad spectrum of municipal taxation and fees and prepared recommendations
  • Reviewed and assessed each line of insurance coverages for best practices adequacy, risk management and claims management and made recommendations for the entire insurance program
  • Reviewed all collective bargaining agreements and developed initiatives to modify these agreements to obtain significant current and future cost reductions, including modifications to wage scales, wage and longevity freezes, reduction of paid holidays and personal leave, reduction of paid vacation leave, reduction of paid sick leave, modifications related to overtime; modifications related to court overtime; redesign of health care benefits, including maximum cost increases to the municipality for such benefits and increased employee contributions; containment of post-retirement health care costs; retention of management rights; modifications in compensatory time; limitations on future compensation and benefits enhancements
  • Reviewed and analyzed all data related to all workforce initiatives, including health care benefits information and plan design and personnel costs related to specific items
  • Served as the labor solicitor for the Office of the Receiver, City of Harrisburg, involving negotiating with various unions for modifications to the existing collective bargaining agreements
  • Reviewed retirement plans and their related actuarial valuations, investment management agreements and other disclosure documents for compliance with applicable state pension law, applicable federal tax law and conformance to the collective bargaining agreements
  • Analyzed all outstanding debt
  • Assisted DCED in the structuring of alternatives to existing municipal debt
  • Reviewed municipalities’ taxing authorities and assessed tax structure, including preparing a summary of taxes and yields, and a separate calculation of the total local tax rates by including those imposed by the school district and county, assessing major areas where additional capacity to tax (including pursuing revenue from property now classified as exempt and increasing collections through tax amnesty programs, increased enforcement and higher penalties), and indicating the principal competitive impact of each major tax option
  • Recommended initiatives to consider as a means of increasing tax revenue, reducing tax collection expenses and improving voluntary compliance
  • Reviewed and analyzed the composition of exempt properties and suggested ways to increase utilization of Payment-in-Lieu-of-Tax (PILOT) agreements
  • Reviewed tax ordinances and regulations and made recommendations for revisions
  • Reviewed current economic development strategy and formulated new economic and community development strategies based upon information obtained at key stakeholder meetings
  • Analyzed and provided recommendations for improved organizational structure to better administer and coordinate economic development activities
  • Assessed overall economic and community development activities and organizations which impacted these activities
  • Developed initiatives based on findings through key economic and community development stakeholder meetings

Robert C. Archibald

Government Affairs Specialist

rca@stevenslee.com

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Harrisburg Government Affairs: 717.234.1040

John N. Badovinac

Director, Griffin Stevens & Lee Consulting

jnb@griffinslconsulting.com

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Harrisburg Market Square: 717.255.7367

John C. Bear

Managing Director, Griffin Stevens & Lee Consulting

jcb@griffinslconsulting.com

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Harrisburg Market Square: 717.255.7385

Lancaster: 717.399.6623

David J. Brightbill

Of Counsel

djb@stevenslee.com

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Harrisburg Government Affairs: 717.234.1045

Maeve E. Cannon

Shareholder

meca@stevenslee.com

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Princeton: 609.243.6423

Ramiro M. Carbonell

Shareholder

rmca@stevenslee.com

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Reading: 610.478.2275

Princeton: 609.718.0975

Kenneth R. Dugan

Shareholder

krd@stevenslee.com

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Reading: 610.478.2163

Peter T. Edelman

Shareholder

pte@stevenslee.com

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Reading: 610.478.2168

John W. Espenshade

Partner

jwe@stevenslee.com

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Lancaster: 717.399.6621

Tamara L. Fox

Associate

tlf@stevenslee.com

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Harrisburg Market Square: 717.255.7354

Susan R. Friedman

Shareholder

srf@stevenslee.com

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Lancaster: 717.399.6625

Robert J. Hobaugh, Jr.

Shareholder

rjhj@stevenslee.com

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Reading: 610.478.2141

Ryan P. Kennedy

Of Counsel

rpke@stevenslee.com

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Princeton: 609.243.6424

Patrick D. Kennedy

Shareholder

pdk@stevenslee.com

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Princeton: 609.243.6422

Debra A. Kisela

Government Affairs Specialist

dak@stevenslee.com

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Harrisburg Government Affairs: 717.238.5816

Wade D. Koenecke

Associate

wdk@stevenslee.com

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Princeton: 609.243.6428

Brian P. Koscelansky

Shareholder

bpk@stevenslee.com

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Scranton: 570.969.5364

Wilkes-Barre: 570.718.0300

James F. Kratz

Associate

jfk@stevenslee.com

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Allentown: 610.997.5065

Blake C. Marles

Shareholder

bcm@stevenslee.com

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Allentown: 610.997.5060

Lisa M. McElligott Miller

Shareholder

lmm@stevenslee.com

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Reading: 610.478.2192

Michael B. Rosenstein

Senior Governmental Affairs Specialist

mbro@stevenslee.com

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Harrisburg Government Affairs: 717.234.7918

Mark J. Rosenstein

Government Affairs Specialist

mjr@stevenslee.com

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Harrisburg Government Affairs: 717.234.1046

Stephen F. Tuckey

Of Counsel, Stevens & Lee; Director, Griffin Stevens & Lee Consulting

sft@griffinslconsulting.com

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Harrisburg Market Square: 717.255.7386

James M. White

Shareholder

jmw@stevenslee.com

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Harrisburg Government Affairs: 717.238.5866

Donald E. Wieand

Shareholder

dew@stevenslee.com

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Allentown: 610.997.5071

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