Departing Mayor Michael Nutter reflects on his ‘roller coaster’ tenure

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 Outgoing Mayor Michael Nutter calls being mayor a 'roller coaster' but takes pride in what his administration has done in the last eight years (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Outgoing Mayor Michael Nutter calls being mayor a 'roller coaster' but takes pride in what his administration has done in the last eight years (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Michael Nutter’s tenure as Philadelphia mayor is coming to a close after eight years. As he makes way for former city councilman Jim Kenney, Nutter took time to reflect on his time in office, saying that he is proud of what he’s accomplished but knows that more work must be done.

“I’ve often described the job of mayor as being a roller coaster of emotion,” Nutter told WHYY’s Jennifer Lynn last week. Nutter is exiting after the city has gone from the highs of a papal visit, a fixed $1 billion budget deficit, and a Phillies World Series victory in 2008 to the lows of the Market St. building collapse, the issues caused by the Great Recession, and the deadly Amtrak derailment.

“I’ve learned to be an even better listener,” he said, “to try harder and to understand a different point of view. I’ve also seen the resilience of our citizens and certainly have come to even more greatly appreciate the efforts of our public employees who do an incredible job under, at times, the worst of circumstances with less resources than they might actually need to have and they comethrough time and time again.”

Nutter’s comments about education, including calling for the dissolution of the School Reform Commission and the return of a local board of education, during a speech at WHYY on Oct. 27 raised eyebrows but Nutter says that he wants this to be a continuing part of the city’s evolution even as he departs office.

“I wanted to lay out what I think is one of the most important issues and challenges facing this city,” Nutter said. “I don’t want us to take our eye off of the ball.

“This is one of the places where I plan to spend more and more of my time after serving as mayor,” he added. “Education is critically important to the future of Philadelphia  and that’s what that speech was about.”

For more of Jennifer Lynn’s interview with Mayor Michael Nutter — including his relationship with city unions, meeting the Pope, what he’s doing next, and his thoughts on incoming mayor Jim Kenney — press play at the top of this page.

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