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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Board of Ethics is drafting new regulations that spell out what city workers can and cannot do when it comes to political activity. But the political watchdog group, The Committee of 70, isn’t satisfied that city council staffers are exempted from the political activity restrictions.

The proposal gives city workers more constitutional freedom of expression than they have under current rules. For example, since the charter was written in 1952, city workers have been prohibited from wearing political buttons outside of work, or posting signs in their yards supporting a candidate. Now, those so-called “private political expressions” would be allowed, when city workers are off the clock.

Reg-8 continues an existing political activity ban on non-elected city employees from serving as a ward leader or committee person, but exempts city council staff.

Committee of 70 president and CEO Zack Stalberg challenges the ethics board to end a “long-standing ethical double standard.” He says, “it’s very tempting for them to step across the line.”

Sophie Bryan, who serves on the staff of councilman Bill Green, took umbrage at that comment.
“To be quite blunt, we were surprised by the liberties taken with the facts in 70’s testimony,” Bryan said. She believes the rules applicable to council staff are stricter than those applied to federal congressional employees.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio

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