By Steve Tawa

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An internal power struggle has led to the ouster of the chair of the City Commissioners, the agency that oversees elections in the City of Philadelphia.

It was a coup by two of the three commissioners, making themselves co-chairmen of the panel.

In a surprise move, commissioner Al Schmidt (far right in photo) made the motion to reorganize and replace chairwoman Stephanie Singer (center of photo).

(Schmidt:)  “…to replace Commissioner Singer as chair, and to nominate commissioner Anthony Clark and myself as co-chairs of the commission.”

(Clark:)  “I second that.”

(Singer:)  “Well, do we need a vote?”

(Schmidt:)  “Yes you do.”

(Schmidt:)  “I vote in favor.”

(Clark:)  “I vote in favor.”

(Singer:)  “I vote against.”

Afterward, Schmidt acknowledged the friction among the commissioners.

“It’s no secret that we’ve had a bumpy time this past year,” he said.

Singer, still seemingly stunned by today’s surprise action, wondered aloud whether her colleagues were as committed to reforms as she was, specifically, “the issue of hiring qualified staff and paying people what they deserve to be paid.”

Schmidt, the lone Republican among the three, ran as a reform candidate last year along with Singer.

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