Last week, Philadelphia City Council overwhelming approved a non-binding resolution that called for “more discussion, more deliberation” of Mayor Nutter's proposal to close 11 city libraries. Some Council members want to hold additional public hearings on the closures, but City Council President Anna Verna has made clear that no such hearing will take place.
“We in Council are completely powerless at this time,” said Verna. “It's strictly up the Mayor. If we were to have public hearings from now until the first of January, it wouldn't do anything. Let me reiterate: We on Council are powerless at this point in time. The Mayor will do what he has to do.”
Verna went on to say that City Council and the public will have their say during the budget hearings that will begin in February. She believes that additional hearings will only give the public “false hope” that library closures can be reversed and the town hall meetings provide ample opportunity for public input.
Most of City Council is attending the Pennsylvania Society in New York City, but several that could be reached declined to comment.
“It's an embarrassment,” said one Council staffer who asked to remain anonymous. “The whole purpose of Council is to hold hearings and provide oversight. If you're not doing that, what is the point?”
We'll have more on this story as it develops.......