Skip to code content (skip section selection)
The Department of Public Property shall have the power and its duty shall be to perform the following functions:
(a) Buildings and Other Real Estate.
(1) It shall keep clean and presentable, maintain and repair, or supervise the cleaning, maintenance and repair of, the corridors, court rooms, meeting rooms and other facilities in City Hall, City Hall Annex and all other City buildings and grounds, except that with the approval of the Managing Director any department, board or commission may perform such services itself as to any buildings and grounds which it occupies exclusively. The Department shall operate the elevators in City Hall and City Hall Annex and in all other City buildings in such a manner as to provide adequate and prompt service to the public. Except for such space as shall in the judgment of the President of the Council and the Mayor be required for the accommodation of the Council and its members, which shall be assigned as provided in the rules of the Council, the Department shall assign to the several courts and the judges thereof, court rooms, offices and other rooms and quarters for a law library and for the Philadelphia Bar Association, and meeting rooms for members of the bar, and to officers, commissions and other governmental agencies supported out of the City Treasury, and to the Mayor and other officers of the City, and all departments, boards and commissions thereof, suitable quarters in City Hall, City Hall Annex or other suitable buildings owned or leased by the City; but in the assignment of quarters, the Department shall arrange that the offices of the Director of Finance, Auditing Department, Department of Collections, and City Treasurer, shall be adjacent to each other.
(2) The Department shall itself, or by contract, provide telephone service through a City telephone exchange or otherwise for all offices and agencies occupying City Hall, City Hall Annex and all other buildings operated by the City for the accommodation of the public, but the Police Department and the Fire Department may, jointly or separately, have separate telephone or other communication systems.
(3) Whenever the City shall have been authorized by ordinance or otherwise to erect a new building or to remodel or alter an existing building, the Department shall when necessary employ a suitable architect, and also when necessary an engineer, to design the same. When the plans have been approved by the Mayor, the Managing Director and the Art Commission, the Department shall cause appropriate specifications to be prepared which shall be submitted to the Mayor and Managing Director for approval. In the preparation of plans and specifications, the Department shall consult with the department, board or commission of the City or other governmental agency for whose use the building is being remodeled, altered or constructed. After a contract has been awarded, the Department shall supervise through its own engineers or otherwise, the remodeling, alteration or erection of the building under the contract.
(4) The Department shall, whenever authorized by ordinance, purchase, condemn in the manner provided by law, lease or otherwise acquire such grounds, buildings and building accommodations, structures and facilities as may be required by the City; and whenever any City real estate is not being used in connection with the work of any department, board or commission of the City or any other governmental agency, the Department may rent, or when authorized by the Council, sell the same upon the best terms obtainable after appropriate public advertising and the receipt of competitive bids.
(b) Maintenance and Assignment of Automobiles and Other Vehicles. The Department shall maintain and repair or supervise the maintenance and repair of all automobiles and other vehicles owned by the City and assign, upon proper requisition, to any officer, department, board, or commission of the City the use of such automobiles and other vehicles as may be required by him or it.
(c) Transit Facilities. The Department shall supervise the operation of leases of City transit facilities. It shall operate and itself, or by contract, maintain, repair and improve such facilities not under lease to others and when authorized by the Council, acquire, design and construct additional transit facilities.
(d) Gas, Electricity and Steam. The Department shall supervise the operation of leases of City facilities for the production and transmission of gas, electricity and steam. It shall operate and itself, or by contract, maintain, repair and improve City gas, electric and steam facilities not under lease to others and when authorized by the Council, acquire, design and construct additional such facilities. The Department shall from time to time inspect and test the quality of gas, electricity and steam furnished to the City and its inhabitants, and the facilities for their transmission and metering.
Sources: Act of June 25, 1919, P.L. 581, Article V, Section 3, as amended, Article VI, Section 3, as amended, Article X, Section 3, Article XXV, Section 3, as amended; the Administrative Code of 1929, P.L. 177, Section 2402, 2407, 2408 and 2411, as amended.
Purposes: 1. A Department of Public Property is established so that the manifold functions relating principally to the care, maintenance and acquisition of City real property will be concentrated in one City agency. Many functions of this kind were performed by the Department of Public Works under the Charter of 1919 and added to its overburdening. On the other hand, the Departments of City Architecture and Transit had limited functions to perform and comparatively small staffs for agencies with departmental status. The Electrical Bureau was a part of the Department of Public Safety and yet was responsible for functions connected with the maintenance and operation of City buildings. All such public property functions are now transferred to the Department of Public Property. Centralization in one department of the care of public buildings and facilities in public buildings should remedy undesirable conditions existing in such buildings at the time of the adoption of this Charter.
2. The Department of Public Property has the function of assigning space in City buildings to the executive and administrative agencies of the City and to agencies presently using facilities in City Hall. The requirement is imposed that the financial departments shall be assigned space adjacent to each other in the interests of efficient operation and convenience to the public. While not mentioned, it is the intention that the Procurement Department shall also be situated adjacent to the other financial departments.
3. The furnishing of municipal telephone services is made the responsibility of the Department of Public Property in order to effect needed improvements in the service rendered both to the City and to the public. Special provision is made in the case of communication system for the police and firemen for the reasons stated in the Annotation in Section 5-200.
4. Responsibility for the design and construction of new City buildings is vested in the Department of Public property because its functions relate to all City real property and to promote efficiency and economy. Most of the work involved, such as architectural and engineering services and actual construction, will be performed on a contract basis but will be subject to general supervision by the Department. In the preparation of plans and specifications, the agency which will ultimately use the structure, is to be consulted to assure that the structure will meet its needs. The Department may have on its staff engineers and architects to the extent it does not contract for such services. The Department itself will not award contracts for this is a function of the Procurement Department Section 6-500.
5. The Department is responsible for the acquisition and disposition of City owned or leased real estate. Centralization of this function should effect important economies.
6. Responsibility for the maintenance and repair, or the supervision of the maintenance and repair, of all City automobiles and the assigning of the use of such automobiles is centralized in order to effect economies in these respects.
7. City owned transit facilities are operated by private operators pursuant to leases and contracts with the City. The supervising of such leases and contracts does not require a separate department and the management of this property interest is placed in the Department of Public Property which will manage other property interests of the City, not of such magnitude or urgency as to require separate treatment. However, the possibility exists that the City may under certain circumstances be required to operate its transit facilities itself, and the Department is authorized to do so, should that prove necessary. Because the acquisition of additional transit facilities is a major capital improvement, authorization by the Council is required.
8. Consideration similar to those applicable to transit facilities govern gas, electrical, and steam facilities. The factor of public safety and City use of services furnished by gas, electrical and steam utilities makes desirable the requirement that the Department inspect and test the quality of gas, electricity and steam furnished to the City and its inhabitants and the facilities for their transmission and metering.