A divided City Council yesterday passed a resolution urging Mayor Nutter to delay the planned closures of 11 library branches and allow time to find alternatives.
Councilwoman Maria Quiñones Sánchez's proposal passed, 12-5, though opponents said the resolution had no effect and would only give residents false hope while undercutting Nutter in a time of financial crisis.
"We don't want to give the wrong impression . . . that something is going to change because we do it," said Councilman William K. Greenlee, who voted against the resolution along with Council President Anna C. Verna, Majority Leader Marian B. Tasco, and Councilmen James F. Kenney and Frank DiCicco.
"Unless we can show tangible, real proof that we have something to keep these libraries open, I really don't think the resolution serves the purpose that it needs to do."
Sanchez's resolution authorized the Committee on Education to hold hearings on library closings and explore alternatives that would allow the Free Library of Philadelphia to keep the buildings open in some capacity.
"I really believe that any public closure warrants more discussion, more deliberations; therefore, I am doing this in support of the mayor trying to reach his end goal through more dialogue," Quiñones Sánchez said.
Councilman Darrell L. Clarke, the majority whip, said Council's job was to oversee the mayor's decisions. "If the City Council of Philadelphia can't have a public hearing to discuss an issue," Clarke said, "what is its purpose?"
Responding to Council's action, Nutter's press secretary, Doug Oliver, said that delaying branch closures would have "devastating implications," as the city's finances continue to deteriorate.
"For that reason," Oliver said in a written statement, "our decision to move forward with the library closures is steadfast, though we will continue to work with our partners to determine potential alternative uses."