See City Workers Slacking Off? Report them with an iPad, iPhone App


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The next time sharp-eyed citizens in Philadelphia see waste, fraud or abuse in their local government, they can report it directly to the city controller with an app.

Called Philly Watchdog, the app offered gratis for the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad in iTunes has been available since April 12 but officially launched yesterday.

“When it comes to reporting fraud and waste in Philadelphia, I’m proud to say that ‘we now have an app for that,'” said City Controller Alan Butkovitz, at a press conference. “Like any investigative unit of government, we often rely on the public to help us identify waste and fraud in city government. It is critically important for government to be on the same technological page as our citizens.”

Philly politicos are billing it as the first app in the nation to “that focuses on reporting fraudulent incidents directly to a government entity,” but it’s part of the growing trend of smartphone apps that report “suspicious activity” or crimes directly to the authorities or ones that allow citizens to report potholes and graffiti.

For people who don’t have iDevices, the city government also offers a hotline as well as an online form. Through it, they claim that city controller has “made over $500 million in recommendations to save Philadelphia money.”


  • imajoebob

    This is just a sleazy politician’s publicity stunt. When it comes to fraud and waste in Philadelphia. nothing compares to an elected city official. How much did this vanity app cost the taxpayers? If fraud is so prevalent that he needs this, why not start by eliminating ALL his appointees and replacing them with civil service professionals, since his people aren’t getting the job done?

    If this was a serious program it would be all-encompassing, with ways to say what’s good, what’s bad, and what suggestions do you have. But it’s just a hack trying to make points by making it appear that city employees need to be watched 24/7 or they’ll rob you blind. History tells us it’s usually the scum politicians like this guy who are the crooks.

  • lkahney

    I agree. It’s another bullshit attack on the public workers, the last bastion of collective labor in this country. Shame.

  • Anon

    I’d like one of these for corporate executives and bankers who create trillions of dollars worth of toxic debt and then buy Congress so they can dump it on the taxpayers. The attack on public sector workers is revolting and disgusting given that not one person has gone to jail for the massive fraud that caused the 2008 collapse. Where’s my app for that?

  • prof_peabody

    I would love to see this kind of app for the police.

    Anyone who wants to make a “cop-watch” app feel free to steal the idea. :)

  • Imp

    So the guy who’s drilling a hole to make a road takes a break, maybe he’s feeling feint, so he takes a break.

    Some random person walks by, sees him taking a break, reports it. Tax Payer’s money is wasting into finding out that the guy was doing nothing more than taking a 2 minute break because he was feeling feint.


  • Staterunner180

    sounds a lot like the ‘child heroes’ in the book 1984, where the children would blow the whistle on their parents to the government, who would in turn take the parents away and reward the children.

  • Andrew

    Exactly. I’m all for the wise expenditure of taxpayer money; however, this would open up innocent hard-working people to the suspicions of any Johnny Shutterbug with an iPhone. That’s in addition to the money that would be wasted to investigate something like this.

  • Lynnespock

    Big brother is here and now!