Council members on the job longer in Philly than other cities

A new report out today measures Philadelphia’s City Council members against their counterparts in other cities.

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative report finds that City Council members have served longer, on average, than their counterparts in any of 14 other major cities including the nation’s 10 largest.

Report author Thomas Ginsberg said Philadelphia also has one of the lowest percentages of first-term members of any of the cities studied.

“Longevity can definitely cut both ways,” Ginsberg said.  “Some people can regard it as great experience and people knowing how to get things done in government and they can get re-elected and all of that can be true.

“On the other hand it can also mean some people can see it as being entrenched and people who won’t get out of office, or maybe can’t be removed from office,” he said.

Ginsberg said Philadelphia’s council members have more weeks without scheduled sessions than their counterparts elsewhere.

Los Angeles has the highest average salaries for council members, while San Antonio has the lowest. The average council salary in Philadelphia is just over $121,000 — the fourth-highest out of the 15 councils studied.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.