Biography of Commissioner Anthony Clark, Chairman
In 2012, Anthony Clark became the first African American City Commissioner Chairman of Philadelphia since the office was created in 1711. He is also the first African American to certify the election of the first African American President of the United States, Barack Obama, in Philadelphia.
The board of county commissioners constitutes the most important administrative body in the county government. In addition to their duties related to administration, the commissioners are also fiscal managers and have certain policy-making powers. Their myriad responsibilities make them the most powerful officers in the county.
When the office was originally created by statute in 1711, the commissioners were initially charged with taking over some of the taxation functions from the county courts, each of the three original Pennsylvania counties of Bucks, Chester and Philadelphia had three commissioners who were appointed by the Assembly to serve until the next session. Before 1722, appointed commissioners were provided for by statute with the number varying between three and five. In 1722 and 1725, statutes were passed which made the office permanent and provided for three commissioners in each county who served three-year terms.The county commissioners were mentioned in the 1776 Constitution, but it was not until the adoption of the 1873 Constitution the office achieved full constitutional status, an amendment of the 1909 increased their terms of office from three to four years. The three commissioners now serve simultaneous terms with minority representation guaranteed.
Anthony Clark, City Commissioner, Chairman who oversees the Philadelphia elections has always been able to find the common ground to work for the greater good of the citizens of Philadelphia in preparing for Election Day.
In 2012, Commissioner Clark became a partner with other elected officials and coalitions to fight against the Commonwealth's Voter ID law (HB 934).
In 2013, Commissioner Clark introduced a placard that prominently displays the Ward and Division number at every polling place. This was to help voters identify which table they should go to without waiting to be directed, thereby, reducing voter confusion and long lines. The measure was in response to the large number of confused voters trying to find their correct divisions inside the polling place during the November 2012 Presidential Election.
City Commissioner Clark, in 2013, designed and published the Philadelphia Public Guide on Election Information and Voter Education. This book contains phone numbers and addresses of all elected officials from federal, state and local government. It also provides other critical information not found in any other guides available in the city of Philadelphia.
City Commissioner Clark proposed and voted at the Sunshine Meeting on December 3, 2014, to expand the City Commissioners' website so that Philadelphia will have the ability to view and download the ballot that applies to his or her own Ward and Division to prepare for Election Day. Clark's new idea also gives the voter the capability to locate their polling place by entering their address in a search box.
Commissioner Clark was Deputy of Estates and Wills and was elected to State Committee in 1994. He also enjoys being the Ward Leader of the 28th Ward for which he has served for 20 years. Furthermore, he has been an elected committee person for 25 years; and is currently the First Vice Chairman of the United Democratic Ward Leaders of Color.
Commissioner Clark's voting record from 1977 to 2014 is 93%; voting 71 times out of 76 in 38 years.
In 2008, Clark voted for Barak Obama, the first African American President of the United States. In 2012, he became the first African American City Commisioner Chairman to certify Obama's election in Philadelphia.