Philadelphia mayor-elect Jim Kenney outlines transition plans

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Philadelphia mayor-elect Jim Kenney spent the morning after his landslide victory thanking supporters and outlining transition plans as he prepares to take office. (WPVI)

Philadelphia Mayor-elect Jim Kenney spent the morning after his landslide victory over Republican Melissa Murray Bailey thanking supporters and outlining his transition plans for taking office.

Kenney chose the Andrew Jackson Elementary School in South Philadelphia as the backdrop to launch his transition process.

It was a clear message that education is one of his top priorities, if not number one.

"You can't starve a system," said Kenney. "You can't take resources away from a system then complain it fails. We're not failing. We're doing well. We're going to keep moving up that needle of performance."

He also said he wants to get universal prekindergarten in place by next fall. Kenney thinks he'll find the $60 million to fund the program in the existing budget, and through businesses and private donations. He wants it up and running by September 2016.

Kenney discussed a broad range of issues, challenges that have been familiar to all 98 mayors who have gone before him. He emphasized that every neighborhood in the city will have his full attention, and that his strategies will become clear during the transition process.

Kenney will hold a series of town hall meetings and has set up a website to collect ideas. He says he'll focus on turning the good ideas into actionable policy, and hiring the right people to manage those policies.

One of those people will be Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross. Kenney wasn't naming names, but dropped broad hints that Ross is his only choice to replace Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey when Ramsey retires at the end of the year.

Kenney says one of his top priorities is establishing a good relationship between the police and the communities they serve.

"Certainly there are problems between the police and our citizens," he said. "And different neighborhoods have different issues when it comes to our police and their interaction. But the civilians are in charge of the police, not the police in charge of civilians."

Kenney planned to spend the rest of Wednesday putting together his transition team.

He said he will make his selections public sometime on Thursday.

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Information from The Associated Press was used in this post.

Related Topics:
politicsphiladelphia newsphiladelphia city hallphilly newspoliticsprimary electionelections2015 philadelphia mayoral electionCenter City Philadelphia
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