By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mayor Michael Nutter’s chief integrity officer finds herself in a political firestorm after she injected herself into a Philadelphia Historical Commission debate over a coffee shop near her home.
At last Friday’s meeting of the Historical Commission, chief integrity officer Joan Markman surprised commission members by making a speech before their vote on proposed renovations to a coffee shop in Fairmount that some neighbors oppose.
Markman admitted that she also lives near the site but said she was speaking in her official capacity, and she reminded commissioners to follow proper procedures.
“I want to make sure that as the Historical Commission considers this application, it makes sure that different standards not be applied to this application than to any of the other applications that I heard at today’s hearing,” she said.
Attorney Carl Primavera, representing developer Ori Feibush, objected and called Markman’s comments “a very heavy-handed and inappropriate line of discussion. It makes me think of Shakespeare when he says, ‘they protest too much.’ What’s really going on here?”
At that point Commission member John Mattioni spoke up, saying he was “personally offended” by her comments.
Commission chairman Sam Sherman then took Markman to task:
(Sherman:) “So you are insinuating that that process wasn’t followed here? Is that–“
(Markman:) “No, that is not what I’m insinuating at all.”
(Sherman:) “That’s exactly what you’re doing.”
(Commissioner Mattioni to Markman:) “I resent your implication that we’re doing something inappropriately. I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with all my colleagues on the commission, but I do believe you are out of line. And if you are here at the mayor’s request, he’s out of line.”
Listen To The Actual Meeting Exchange (runs 5:15)…