Cherelle Parker inaugurated as 100th Philadelphia mayor; declares Public Safety Emergency

"I want the world to know that I am fully committed to ending this sense of lawlessness and bringing order back to our city."

Wednesday, January 3, 2024
Mayor Cherelle Parker inaugurated; declares Public Safety Emergency
Cherelle Parker inaugurated as 100th Philadelphia mayor; declares Public Safety Emergency

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Cherelle Parker was formally inaugurated as the 100th mayor of Philadelphia on Tuesday and became the first woman to hold the office.

Parker's inauguration included a ceremonial swearing-in. She actually took the oath of office shortly after midnight Monday, her office confirmed to Action News, following Jim Kenney's last day as mayor on Sunday.

She then delivered a wide-ranging inaugural speech that touched on her humble beginnings and used the example of her own experiences as a beacon of hope for the city.

"I was born to a single teenage mother, without my biological father present in my life. My grandparents raised me. Mommy, a domestic worker, a domestic worker from Manning, South Carolina. Daddy, a disabled Navy veteran," she said.

Parker signed several executive orders on Tuesday, including one that will declare a Public Safety Emergency to fight crime in the city. She said her administration will announce specific plans to increase the number of police officers on the streets, with a focus on community policing.

In a 100-Day Action Plan released Tuesday, Parker said the Public Safety Emergency will "expeditiously get every available resource into neighborhoods struggling with the scourges of crime, gun violence, drugs, and addiction."

Her plans will include increasing the number of police officers on the streets with a focus on community policing.

"Officers there as guardians and not warriors, getting to know the people they are sworn to protect and serve," Parker said during her inaugural address.

She said she is also directing the new police commissioner, Kevin Bethel, to deliver plans for those crises and for quality-of-life crimes including car theft, shoplifting and illegal ATV use.

Parker also spoke about her desire to clean up the open-air drug market in Kensington.

"If somebody tells you 'We think she lacks compassion because she wants to be too aggressive in cleaning up the open-air drug market,' you tell them to think about whether or not they would want their mother, father, sister, brother, loved one on the streets openly using intravenous drugs," she said.

Parker noted that she has been asked how public safety concerns will impact major events in Philadelphia in 2026, including America's 250th anniversary and the FIFA World Cup.

"If we don't get our own house in order before company comes, and if we don't address public safety, we won't be ready to receive anybody in 2026," she said. "I want the world to know that I am fully committed to ending this sense of lawlessness and bringing order back to our city, and a sense of lawfulness."

Parker also sent the message that Philadelphia is open for business.

"We are going to bring together local, state, and federal officials - along with our business leaders who have a stake in the economic success of our city - so that we can tap into the intellectual resources of Philadelphia, and truly try to create economic opportunities for everyone," she said.

Parker signed two other executive orders on Tuesday. Her office said one is aimed at making local government more visible, responsive and effective. The other is aimed at removing barriers to city employment, including the college requirement for a variety of public positions.

Parker, a former teacher herself, also saying she is dedicated to improving the public school system.

"Our children had the same right to come to school and receive a 21st-century education in a clean, modern, school building with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, as does any other child anywhere in this commonwealth," she said.

And for the first time in 12 years, City Council now has a new president after Kenyatta Johnson was sworn in Tuesday. He and Parker raised their hands together to the audience during their inauguration ceremony.

On Tuesday night, supporters packed the Fillmore in Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood to honor the city's new mayor.

"I feel like I am part of something that is bigger than me," said Josephys Dafils, of Northeast Philadelphia.

Parker's 100-Day Action Plan also outlined goals for improving education, housing, economic opportunity and more.

Below are the six pillars of Parker's plan as released by her office:

Public Safety. In our first 100 days, my administration will announce specific plans to increase the number of Philadelphia police officers on our streets - with a focus on community policing citywide. We will declare a Public Safety Emergency and expeditiously get every available resource into neighborhoods struggling with the scourges of crime, gun violence, drugs, and addiction. Our Police Commissioner will deliver plans for those crises and for crimes - like car theft, shoplifting, and illegal ATV use - that diminish the quality of life in our city.

Clean and Green. We will launch a new approach to addressing quality-of-life issues, like illegal short-dumping, cleaning up litter and graffiti, fixing potholes, and removing abandoned cars-starting by focusing on the hardest hit neighborhoods. We will expand a successful neighborhood commercial corridor cleaning program, PHL Taking Care of Business (PHL TCB). And we will create a Clean and Green Cabinet to organize government, community, and business collaboratively to reduce waste, increase recycling, and continue to work towards a more sustainable future -all with an eye towards environmental justice for underserved and under-resourced communities.

Housing. We will create a "One Front Door" opportunity for residents to access city-run home improvement programs in one place. We will develop a vision of "affordable luxury"-affordable homes with high-quality fixtures and finishes for homeowners and renters; preserve and build more affordable housing; and provide more support for small landlords. We will order a top-to-bottom review of the city's Land Bank to better understand the challenges of developing vacant, city-owned properties - and work to significantly improve that process.

Economic Opportunity. Within our first 100 days, our "PHL Open for Business" initiative will reduce the red tape that makes it hard to do business in our city by requiring every city department to submit to my office a suggested list of unnecessary permits and regulations we can eliminate. We will continue to remove college degree requirements for many City of Philadelphia jobs where it is unnecessary and spread the word about current job opportunities in city government - opening the door for more Philadelphians to access good-paying jobs. We will appoint a team focused on Minority Business Success to bring together local and national investors to generate investment support for diverse businesses and convene a Business Roundtable focused on growing the economy of Philadelphia.

Education. We will develop a comprehensive strategy to provide meaningful out-of-school programs and job opportunities for students outside regular school hours. We will prepare a strategy on school building modernization and work closely with the School District on its own plan for school facilities. Our outreach will allow me and my team to hear directly from teachers, counselors, and principals on how best to attract, retain, and support them. We will seek out committed citizens to serve our students as members of our School Board.

Roundtables. We will create and operationalize Roundtables with a focus on business, faith-based, and intergovernmental efforts, whose missions will be to solicit and develop better ideas for how City Hall can serve all the different constituencies and needs of our diverse city. We want everyone's ideas for how to improve Philadelphia, and we're going to be a government that truly listens to people.

Read more: Mayor Parker's 100-Day Action Plan on

Parker, a 51-year-old former councilwoman, has recently named several key members of her administration, including a new police commissioner, managing director, acting fire commissioner and chief public safety director.

Mayor Jim Kenney said on his last day in office that the city and its future are in "great hands."

"I have the utmost confidence in Mayor-elect Parker, who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to serving the people of Philadelphia time and again throughout her impressive career," Kenney wrote in an open letter to the city.

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