Council presidency up for grabs

Philadelphia City Council president Anna Verna’s announcement that she won’t seek re-election next year will set off a scramble among veteran Council members to fill the leadership vacuum.

The post comes with substantial power. The president assigns members committee positions, manages the flow of legislation, and controls budgets, jobs and contracts.

Council veteran Marian Tasco is one of two members expected to seek the presidency next year.

“You know the election for president is an inside game with the Council members, totally,” Tasco said in a chat with reporters outside her office Monday.

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Tasco declined to confirm that she’ll seek the presidency or even that she’ll run for re-election, but acknowledged that she’s interested and that she thinks she has leadership skills to offer.

A potential rival to Tasco is fellow Democrat Darrell Clarke. Clarke is a former chief of staff to John Street, who was Council president from 1992 to 2000. Clarke, who now holds Street’s seat, didn’t return a call about the president’s race.

Though the formal vote won’t occur for a year, it’s never too early for contenders to start collecting votes. They can woo returning Democrats and Republicans, as well as candidates hoping to knock off an incumbent or capture an open seat in the coming year.

Four incumbent members – Verna, Jack Kelly, Joan Krajewski and Donna Reed Miller have said they won’t seek re-election.


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