Philadelphians heard from Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker for the first time Thursday since declaring victory in the mayoral race
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphians heard from Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker for the first time Thursday since declaring victory in the mayoral race.
Parker held a press conference inside City Hall, as the city moves from the Kenney Administration to the Parker Administration.
"We are one Philly - a city united," Parker said during the press conference.
The Democrat beat Republican David Oh with 75% of the vote to become the first woman to serve as mayor.
Now, Parker is in the process of forming her team.
"The lift of the transition is going to be heavy. But, believe me when I tell you, this is the team to do it," Parker said. "What you see here is a transition team that is literally working around the clock. They will be bringing together the best and the brightest from within city government, across Philadelphia, the region, and the country."
Current Mayor Jim Kenney was on hand during the press conference, congratulating Parker on becoming the 100th mayor of the city. He said they will work together to ensure a smooth transition.
"I'm confident under Cherelle Parker's strong leadership, we will see great progress on our common goal of building a safe and thriving, and equitable Philadelphia," Mayor Kenney said.
"This transition will be focused on finding best and brightest from across the city, around country, internationally and those who currently serve in the city of Philadelphia," said Ryan Boyer, with the Building Trades Council. "We are asking for ideas from everyone because we truly want the best."
Parker campaigned on several platforms, including raising the minimum wage in the city to more than $17 an hour.
She also wants to keep public schools open year-round, as well as focus on public safety.
Her first order of business will be to pick a new police commissioner. Parker said she will announce her choice before Thanksgiving.
"We are working through a process. We are talking to both local and national candidates," Parker explained. "The next commissioner, we have said, needs to have my trust and my support as mayor."
She said the next commissioner will also need the support of the rank and file.
"They also need to know the city," she added.
When it comes to addressing gun violence, Parker said she will rely on her team and other city officials to generate ideas and solutions.
"We are going to have to put to work every department in the city of Philadelphia to come up with a holistic strategy to reduce crime because the police department alone will not be able to do it."
Meantime, the mayor-elect is also looking to fill vacancies within Philadelphia Police.
She said she wants her administration to "remove every barrier to entry that could be potentially in existence to prevent, and or, discourage folks from wanting to become a part of our police department."
Parker is also looking to recruit. She believes when the next police commissioner is announced, and they unveil their public safety plan, more people will express interest in wanting to work in the department.
Philadelphia Police held a last-minute recruitment push on Thursday afternoon before the current recruits' application period closes this Sunday.
The department says it currently has a deficit of 1,095 officers, including the recruits.
Interim police commissioner John Stanford spoke about the importance of recruiting.
"Recruiting the next generation of Philadelphia police officers is not only a necessity for our department, it's a necessity for our city," Stanford said.
During the event, Stanford also expressed interest in staying on as commissioner of the department.
"I think the new mayor has already connected with our department. She's not a stranger to this city or department," Stanford said. "I think we are going to support her in every possible way to make sure she is successful regardless of who is standing at the helm because it's not about an individual it's about this city"
In addition to choosing a commissioner, Parker is also looking to form subcommittees to inform policy and decision-making in the city.
The committees will tackle topics like commerce and economic development, education, environmental stability, health and human services, housing, infrastructure and public safety.
Members of a talent search group are working with the city to fill these subcommittees and help form the next team to serve the Parker Administration.
To learn about that, they are encouraging people to visit transition2023.org.