State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland was sworn in as the Mayor of Chester today.
Kirkland, a Democrat who had resigned from his post in the legislature on December 8th, posted a statement on his website last Thursday explaining that he had rescinded that resignation.
“I will serve in two capacities: the mayor of Chester City and the state representative of the 159th Legislative District,” said Kirkland in the statement. “Until there’s an ultimate resolution of the 2015-16 state budget, I want to be sure my constituents are represented and that they have a voice in the process.”
Bill Patton, spokesman for Pennsylvania house minority leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny), confirmed Kirkland officially delayed resigning.
The practice — though rare, is “permissible under state law,” said Patton.
Unlike some states — such as New Jersey — that forbid legislators to hold more than one elected office, a practice sometimes called “double-dipping” or “dual office holding,” Pennsylvania has no such law. (New Jersey passed a law forbidding politicians from holding more than one elected office, but there are quite a few who were grandfathered in by the law and still hold multiple offices)
Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, current legislators may not hold a civil office, but there is no rule against holding two elected offices.
Kirkland did not immediately return requests for comment sent to either of his offices. In the statement, he said he planned to continue not only to vote but to provide constituent services through both offices.
Republicans currently hold a 118 to 82 majority in the Pennsylvania House, with three vacancies. If Kirkland had not resigned, his Democratic seat would have remained empty until a special election, slightly shifting the balance of power during votes on the still-unfinished state budget. Those votes have tended to fall along partisan lines.
Patton said Kirkland plans to accept his $85,000-a-year legislative salary but will not take mayoral pay as long as he holds both positions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.