Council Members Don’t Fade Away

    Next year all 17 members of Philadelphia City Council are up for re-election. Three of them – Joan Krajewski, Marian Tasco, and President Anna Verna – were born before Hitler invaded Poland

    Of the three, only Krajewski has said she won’t run for re-election. Which makes her a rare species in Philadelphia’s political ecosystem: a Council member ready to voluntarily cede the office.

    Think about it. Every year, we hear of Council members thinking of hanging it up – Verna, Tasco, Donna Miller, Frank DiCicco – and they always come back.

    Can you remember the last Council member who simply decided to retire? I can recall members leaving under indictment, or because they were sure to lose, or in a rare case or two, for better jobs.

    But I also remember Thacher Longstreth and David Cohen staying long after physical infirmities made their public appearances painful to watch. Both died in office. Cohen was 90, Longstreth 83.

    I’m not an ageist. Wisdom and government experience are valuable, and people with the wits and stamina shouldn’t leave until they’re ready.

    I’m just saying that being a Council members is, for most of these folks, a great gig. You make well over 100K, you get a car and a staff, and work as hard as you want to.

    So if you’re trying to figure whether one of our seasoned solons are staying or going come election time, put your money on staying.

    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.