Council President Darrell L. Clarke's timing is impeccable.
When a mayor or other public leader is on the verge of announcing a major civic effort, Clarke can often be counted on to rise up with his own, sometimes conflicting, take on the issue at hand.
It's happened twice in recent weeks, including on Thursday when Clarke introduced a resolution pushing his stance on tax reform - one day before a coalition of stakeholders, including Mayor Kenney, was to hold a news conference on its own plan.
Before that, Clarke in January said Council was ready to "start the ball rolling" on what he saw as long-overdue criminal-justice reforms - as Kenney's administration put final touches on a bid for a $4 million grant to reduce the city's prison population.
While none will say it on the record, critics call it a pattern and grumble that Clarke's interjecting is often counterproductive, turning what could be collaboration adversarial.
Clarke says those people have it all wrong.
In some of the examples that have riled his counterparts, Clarke said he was actually the first to broach the subject. Other times, he said, he interjects to give a voice to constituents who have been left out.
If he offends someone in the process?
"I don't care about these people in their own little silos and own little fiefdoms, where 'He's infringing on my situation, my territory,' " the City Council president said last week. "I don't care about you, all right?"
The most recent examples come as power on Council seems to be shifting, ever so slightly. The Council president has long held huge sway on the 17-member body. But that was in large part due to the members' strained relationships with Mayor Michael Nutter - a problem Kenney so far doesn't have.
Clarke's own clashes with Nutter seem to be at the heart of several cases where he has been accused of cutting in on an ongoing effort.
When Nutter in 2013 was moving to sell the garage under LOVE Park to a firm that would also upgrade the park above, Clarke - seemingly out of the blue - proposed his own ill-fated plan. He wanted to see seven restaurants open in the iconic park.
When Nutter, in the aftermath of the deadly Salvation Army building collapse, announced he was moving the Department of Licenses and Inspections under the purview of public safety, Clarke on the same day introduced legislation to make a new cabinet-level department to oversee seven entities - including L&I.
On criminal-justice reform, Clarke could be trying to one-up Nutter's replacement. Kenney has highlighted the topic as a key focus of his administration.
Clarke's decision to create a criminal-justice reform committee left some scratching their heads.
The city already has a Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB), composed of key players from across the system, including a Council appointee. That group is working to secure a grant from the MacArthur Foundation that would give $4 million to reduce the city's prison population.
"Why would we want to do something else when we're already working on this and everyone is at the table and on the same page?" one member of the grant-application team said. "Do we really need a duplicative effort?"
Common Pleas Court Judge Shelia Woods-Skipper, chairwoman of CJAB, said Clarke didn't reach out to her before announcing his intention to create the committee, but said she was hopeful that in the future, "any reform effort that is being led by Council will work collaboratively with CJAB."
Clarke said the fact that the city already has another board weighing criminal-justice reforms gave him no pause about starting his own committee.
Clarke said Council's committee will take a broader approach than CJAB, tackling issues from pre-crime intervention to post-release job training. But more important, he said, Council should hold hearings because the body is more accessible to the public than CJAB is.
"When you talk to that reverend up there in Kensington and he shows you what he's doing in his neighborhood with no money, is CJAB up there knocking on his door saying, 'Reverend, we want to help you'?" Clarke said. "I want those people to be involved in the process because they're real. They tell a real story."
If insiders think he's stepping on their toes? "Now that I'll say, frankly speaking, I don't care."
On the other examples, Clarke can lay out his own timeline on each.
On the reorganization involving L&I, Clarke said he went to the mayor's administration with his plan first and then Nutter's team jumped the gun with its own. On LOVE Park, Clarke said he similarly was the one who proposed to Nutter the idea of selling the garage. When he put the brakes on Nutter's plan, he said it allowed time for the public to weigh in.
(By the way, he said, people in his district loved his idea to pack the park with restaurants.)
As for whether it concerns him that some see a different motivation - be it promoting himself or stealing someone else's thunder - Clarke said it does not.
"I don't get into concern," he said. "If you have a task before you, you stay focused. . . . I don't even get into that. I care about what the people want."