‘Resign to run’ could be ballot question come May in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia politicians might get the chance to run for a new job without having to resign their city post.

City Council has approved David Oh’s bill that would allow council members, the mayor or other elected officials to run for new posts without giving up their old ones.

Oh says it would help the city, making it easier for experienced leaders to run for the legislature or governor, for example.

“Once you have people who have actually been in public office which is lot more complicated then simply showing up to work and making a vote yes or no,” Oh said. “There are many complicated issues. They are well qualified to know the needs of the city and the needs of the commonwealth and they know where things should be changed to help our city better.”

Oh says the current “resign to run” provision in the city charter keeps some good politicians from seeking higher office. 

“When you exclude the largest city and county the largest economic engine from that discussion from that choice,” he said. “I don’t that’s good for Philadelphia and I don’t think that’s good for Pennsylvania.”

If Mayor Nutter approves it, the measure could be on the May primary ballot in Philadelphia.

He had to resign his council seat when he first ran for mayor.  

The legislation would not take effect until after the 2015 mayor’s race.  That’s significant since there are likely candidates, such as City Controller Alan Butkovitz, who under current rules would have to resign their posts to run for mayor.

This story has been corrected.  A previous version gave the wrong information about when the proposed changes would take effect.

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