“He was relieved of his duties,” said Mark McDonald, a spokesperson for Mayor Nutter.
Johnson, 55, couldn’t be reached for comment.
He served as executive director of the PAC since June 2004, supervising a staff of four and overseeing a $300,000 annual budget.
Kelvyn Anderson, the PAC’s deputy director, will serve as interim director while a search ensues for a permanent director.
“I’m pleased that Kelvyn is now at the helm of the PAC,” said Ronda B. Goldfein, the PAC’s chair. “I believe he’s the right person to help us build important relationships with the community and the police.”
At recent public meetings, several PAC members expressed concern with Johnson’s work performance.
They said Johnson wasn’t following their instructions and they questioned his ability to adequately oversee PAC investigations.
The commissioners recommended to Nutter that Johnson be reassigned. But no alternate position could be found, thus Johnson is no longer employed by the city.
The April PAC meeting became particularly stormy when Johnson publicly disagreed with the commissioners’ decision to close about 100 PAC cases.
The commissioners said the cases were languishing, with little or no chance of any progress being made. But Johnson insisted that some of the cases should remain open until definite conclusions could be reached.
The PAC was formed 18 years ago in response to concerns from LGBTs and others that city officials weren’t properly addressing alleged police misconduct.
Though it has no enforcement powers, the PAC investigates individual complaints of police misconduct and, when appropriate, makes recommendations for corrective action to the police commissioner.
The PAC’s highest-profile LGBT case involves Nizah Morris, a transgender woman who was discovered with a fatal head wound shortly after receiving a courtesy ride from Philadelphia police in 2002.
Johnson was criticized by some PAC members for accepting redacted Morris evidence from the police and/or District Attorney’s office without getting any explanations for the redactions.
Last year, a new set of commissioners reopened the Morris case, and they’re expected to issue a revised report within the next several months.
Johnson’s brother, Stephen Johnson, heads the Police Internal Affairs Division, which the PAC sometimes depends on to assist with investigations.
According to published reports, the Johnson brothers met occasionally to discuss PAC-related business.
But some PAC members were uncomfortable with the sibling arrangement, saying they weren’t notified of the meetings, let alone approved of them.
The commissioners also clashed with Johnson over his supervision.
Johnson said he reported to Everett A. Gillison, the city’s public-safety director.
Gillison works in the managing director’s office, which funded Johnson’s $74,984 annual salary.
But the commissioners maintained they supervised Johnson.
The disagreement over Johnson’s supervision impeded the PAC’s ability to get work done, commissioners said.
In a prepared statement, Gillison expressed agreement with Johnson’s dismissal.
“Mr. Johnson always kept Philadelphians first in his mind and worked hard to improve police-community relations,” Gillison said. “But the time for change had arrived. And the commission strongly believed it was time for new leadership. The [Nutter] administration fully concurred in that assessment.”
Goldfein said the PAC currently has 11 commissioners, all representing diverse segments of the city.
There are eight vacancies on the commission, including positions for four alternate members, she said.
“We’re looking forward to adding new members in the near future,” Goldfein said. “Of the remaining 11 commissioners, nine have been completely involved in — and supportive of — the change in personnel.”
She said the PAC will focus its efforts during the remainder of the summer on assessing the status of pending PAC complaints, along with reviewing complaint and investigation procedures and community outreach.
“We’re excited by Kelvyn’s ideas on addressing both the backlog of cases and on shaping the PAC’s future,” Goldfein said. “In addition, Kelvyn will assess the workload and make an assessment about staffing needs.”
Goldfein said the outcome of those efforts will be announced at a public meeting in September at the PAC’s office, 990 Spring Garden St., seventh floor. She said the exact date for the meeting hasn’t been determined.
“We’re confident that the PAC can be revitalized, and that it will reach its full potential as a civilian oversight agency that Philadelphia can rely upon,” Goldfein concluded.