New City Council session, new rules

Philadelphia City Council got back to work last week. The new session comes with new rules, which came with some testy exchanges with the public.

The rules combine new and old. Privileged resolutions — such as honoring a person or pee-wee football team — can be approved on the same day they are introduced.

Philadelphia City Council is retaining a three-minute limit for public comments and limiting the comments to bills on the calendar for a final vote.

The rules irritated resident Robert Sklar.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“These types of restrictions prevent citizens from addressing City Council. Citizens need to be able to address City Council in its entirety, public comment should be permitted for any issue that is of concern for any citizen of this city,” Sklar said. “Remember, you represent our interests, we don’t represent yours.”

In his first week as council president, Darrell Clarke has shown he’s ready to chastise anyone who doesn’t follow the procedure.

“You’re not speaking on the subject matter, I just want to make sure you understand the rules that the subject matter must be on the final calendar,” he said.

The three-minute limit is enforced by a timer on the podium with green, yellow and red warning lights.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

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

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal