PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Jim Kenney today announced that Philadelphia Managing Director Brian Abernathy will leave City government effective Friday, September 4, 2020. Abernathy has served as Managing Director since January 2019, and previously served as First Deputy Managing Director beginning in January 2016.
“I thank Brian for his service to the City of Philadelphia,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “I’ve worked closely with many public servants throughout my career and few match Brian’s level of integrity and commitment to making our city better. I particularly thank him for his tireless dedication while managing multiple unprecedented crises in the past four months. I will miss his counsel and measured leadership, and I wish him well on all of his future pursuits.”
In his resignation letter, Brian Abernathy said, “Our city has weathered tremendous hardship over the past several months. In a short period of time, we’ve faced a pandemic, the worst economic crisis in a century, and important but difficult civil unrest. At the same time, we’ve seen a worsening opioid crisis, pervasive homelessness, and a rising murder rate. Throughout these months, there have been too many nights and weekends where my daughters have wondered where I was, and I’ve placed too many burdens on my wife’s shoulders. I love my job and my city and have made these sacrifices willingly, but 2020 has taken a toll on my family, on my mind, on my body, and on my soul.
“My time in the Managing Director’s Office has not been without its challenges, but it’s also seen success. We were able to build a diverse, high-performing team that ran the City well. We stood up and operationalized Rebuild, a historic investment in our communities. For the first time in generations, the government turned its full attention to the Kensington community to tackle the opioid crisis and residents’ quality-of-life. We developed partnerships with the private sector, which created new approaches to addressing homelessness. The refinery explosion that rocked the city may lead to thousands of new jobs and environmental justice. And even in the midst of COVID-19, we provided hundreds of thousands of meals, housed hundreds of people, and gave calm guidance to Philadelphians in an unsteady world.
“But as Philadelphia shapes its future, our city must face the demons of inequity, poverty, and racism. All voices must be heard—the status quo is no longer acceptable. Progress will not be possible until everyone understands the meaning of Black Lives Matter. To truly tackle these demands, different voices are required at every level of government.
“So with humility, a deep love for my city, and enormous appreciation to my colleagues, I am resigning effective September 4th.”
Abernathy will remain in the role through September 4. The Mayor’s Office will conduct an organizational review of the structure of the Managing Director’s Office and plan a search process for the next Managing Director.
The Managing Director’s Office (MDO) is the Cabinet-level executive office with oversight of the City’s operating departments. The MDO provides support, assistance, and coordination to build sustainable infrastructure within and across departments, ensuring the efficient delivery of quality services to the public. The MDO is organized around five cabinets including: Community and Culture; Community Services; Health and Human Services; Public Safety; and Transportation and Infrastructure Sustainability.