Is Mayor Nutter chipping away at yet another piece of John Street's legacy?
Yes, according to an email distributed earlier today announcing that the Nutter administration had formally decided to disband the Philadelphia Children's Commission.
"After months of uncertainty, we now have the 'final answer,'" wrote commission executive director Susan Badeau to her 30 or so high-profile board members, including urberlawyer Steven Cozen and philanthropist H.F. Gerry Lenfest.
The commission, she wrote, "in its current state, will cease to exist at the end of this fiscal year, June 30."
The thing is, the Nutter administration says it hasn't pulled the plug. "At this point, no decision has been made," mayoral spokesman Doug Oliver said this afternoon.
Badeau said she got word last week from the commission's co-chair, former Mayor W. Wilson Goode, Sr., that a senior administration official told him their days were numbered.
That's what prompted Badeau to sent out the email, she said, arranging for a final meeting of the commission, which Street established in 2000 to give a central voice to children's issues. (Street's wife, Naomi Post, was one of the first chairs.)
Goode, in an initial interview today, confirmed he indeed had been informed by the administration that the commission was being eliminated. But told about 30 minutes later that Nutter's spokesman said no such thing was happening, Goode said that was exactly right: "No one has told me the commission was going to be disbanded."
Oliver surmised that the confusion might stem from the June 30 closing of Philadelphia Safe and Sound, which paid the salary - and housed - the commission's single employee, Badeau.
"So if Safe and Sound disbands," Oliver said, "then the mechanism through which the commission has to be paid is disbanding."
Perhaps, but even that isn't clear.
For now, all that is clear is that Nutter plans to create his own advisory body on children and families.
"Will it keep the same name? I don't know," Oliver said. "Will it include the same board members? I don't know.