The task of ensuring that Pennsylvania spends its nearly $10 billion share of the federal economic stimulus package appropriately will fall to a pillar of Philadelphia’s business community.
Ronald J. Naples was introduced Tuesday by Gov. Ed Rendell as the chief accountability officer for the task of overseeing the spending. He is also responsible for ensuring that the public can see clearly how the money is being spent.
“If the state is to be accountable for spending … we’ll have to find different ways to measure performance. We’ll have to let people know how we’re doing in a simple and direct way,” Naples told reporters at a Capitol news conference.
Naples, 63, of Wynnewood, will be paid $120,000 annually. He was given a one-year commitment, and the stimulus money is directed to be spent within three fiscal years.
He retired in October as chief executive officer of Quaker Chemical Corp. but remains chairman of the Conshohocken-based company.
Naples has served on numerous boards of Philadelphia-area civic institutions and was chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in 2003.
Rendell said he first met Naples during his tenure as Philadelphia mayor and knew him as one of the “movers and shakers” in the business community.
Naples, a West Point graduate who served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army, also helped lobby during the 1990s to keep the annual Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, Rendell said.
Naples said it took some persuasion from Rendell for him to take the job since he is unfamiliar with Pennsylvania state government. What helped, he said, is Rendell’s agreement to form a working group of administration officials who report to Naples.
“Nothing’s going to get done if it’s all just Naples saying, ‘Hey, let’s do this,’” Naples said.
Naples is also a member of a stimulus committee appointed by Rendell that is expected to meet twice a month. The committee held its first meeting Tuesday.