Philadelphia City Council is off to a great start. And then again, it’s not.
The good news is that six veteran members rode off into the sunset of retirement on Monday, including the most shameless of the gang, Joan Krajewski, who finally called it a career four years after staging a one-day “retirement” to collect $270,000 in retirement money before returning to work.
The bad news is that after convening for their first session, all 17 members of the newfangled Council adjourned for three and a half weeks.
Not a bad gig if you can get it. A city car, a bloated staff, three months off for summer vacation, a six-figure salary for, at best, part-time work, etc.
What a disappointment for a legislative body one-third of whose members campaigned last year on the theme of reform and were elected in November amid high hopes for true change in the way city government operates. In Philadelphia, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The only thing Council members did right on Monday is elect 5th district Councilman Darrell Clarke as president, succeeding retired Councilwoman Anna Verna and bypassing Councilwoman Marian Tasco. Tasco, who pulled a Krajewski last week by “retiring” for one day just to collect $478,057 in retirement money, had sought the top spot after her re-election in the 9th district, but her participation in the hated DROP retirement program rightly doomed her presidential ambitions.
If Philadelphia’s long-suffering residents are lucky, Mayor Michael Nutter, fresh into his second and last term, will use his bully pulpit, vociferously, this time, to shame City Council into doing the people’s business — full-time. ••
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