October 31, 2022
In addition to high-profile elections taking place for federal and statewide offices, Philadelphia voters will have two ballot questions at the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Both questions propose changes to the Home Rule Charter, Philadelphia's governing document that defines the powers and responsibilities of the city's government entities, at City Hall or the School District of Philadelphia.
One question will ask voters if the city should make a bureaucratic change to how the the city manages Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport. The other asks whether graduates of the School District's career and technical schools should receive preference when applying for civil service jobs in the city.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Election Day. Registered voters can find where they cast their ballots using the city's polling place locator tool. To learn more about the candidates that will appear on the ballot next Tuesday, check out PhillyVoice's voting guide for Pennsylvania's midterms.
Below are more details on each ballot question in Philadelphia:
How the question appears on the ballot:
Should the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to create the Department of Aviation and to transfer certain functions related to the operation of City airports from the other City agencies to the Department of Aviation?
The city's Department of Commerce is responsible for operating, maintaining and improving Philadelphia's airport facilities. Those functions are carried out by the commerce department's Division of Aviation, which alone has an operating budget of more than $380 million, making it the third largest division of any city department. However, its annual budget is not reliant on local tax revenue. Instead, the Division of Aviation's budget is funded through fees charged to airlines and other revenue sources.
If passed, the Division of Aviation would separate from the Department of Commerce and become its own department within the mayor's cabinet. The Department of Aviation would be solely responsible for operation, maintenance and improvements of the city's airports. It would also be able to set rates and charges for the use of airport facilities. The mayor would be responsible for appointing the director of aviation, who would run the department.The measure to get this question on the ballot was approved by the city council in May; supporters say that the move could modernize the city's airports, bringing them closer in line with airports in other major cities.
The mayor's office also signaled support for the measure, noting that the Department of Aviation would put Philadelphia International Airport in a "position more commensurate to the impact it has on the economic growth and connectivity of the region."
Voting "yes" on this ballot measure supports changing the city's charter to separate the Division of Aviation from the Department of Commerce and establish it as a standalone Department of Aviation within the mayor's cabinet. The mayor would appoint a director of aviation to run the Department of Aviation, which would be responsible for operating, maintaining and improving Philadelphia's airport facilities.
Voting "no" on this ballot measure opposes creating a separate Department of Aviation. The Philadelphia Department of Commerce would continue to be responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the city's airports.
How the question appears on the ballot:
Shall the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to provide for a preference in civil service examinations for qualified graduates of Career Technical Education programs in the School District of Philadelphia?
While there are some jobs within Philadelphia's city government that are filled by appointment or election, most are filled through the Civil Service Commission. The system evaluates job applicants based on tests related to the position, and applicants must meet different score thresholds for various jobs. Additionally, the applicants who meet these thresholds are ranked based on their scores and interviewed for jobs based on their rankings.
Some applicants, like veterans, qualify for 10 preference points, which amount to extra credit. Depending on the initial evaluation score, these extra points could be significantly beneficial to applicants looking to fill government jobs.
City Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson introduced a bill to establish a system of preference for graduates of the School District of Philadelphia's Career and Technical Education programs, which are commonly know as vo-tech programs and are intended to teach students specific career skills they can use to find jobs after graduating high school. Vo-tech grads would receive five preference points to give them an extra edge, under this proposed change.
This measure faced some opposition — namely from Republican councilmembers David Oh and Brian O'Neill and Democrat Mike Driscoll. Those against the proposal believe that the vo-tech preference for students devalues the preference for veterans.
Voting "yes" on this ballot measure supports changing the city's charter to give graduates of the School District's CTE programs with five preference points in their evaluations for open civil service positions in city government. This would not alter the 10 points given to veterans applying to these positions.
Voting "no" on this ballot measure opposes providing graduates of the School District's CTE programs with five preference points in their evaluations for civil service positions in city government. Veterans would still receive 10 extra points in their evaluations.