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Plan For ‘Resign To Run’ Referendum Question Gets Council OK

(Philadelphia city councilman David Oh.  File photo by Mike Dunn)

(Philadelphia city councilman David Oh. File photo by Mike Dunn)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council this week signed off on a ballot question for next May’s primary.  Voters would decide whether to change the city charter so councilmembers don’t need to resign before running for a different office.

Councilman David Oh believes that since state lawmakers don’t have to resign to run for mayor, city elected officials should not have to, either.

And Oh says the sixty-year-old “resign to run” provision in the charter leads to dishonesty, as local candidates refuse to admit they’re candidates to delay their resignation.

Council has now approved Oh’s plan for a ballot question to ask if voters want to revise “Resign to Run.”

Oh says his goal is simple:  “Getting rid of an antiquated law that has really been a limitation to Philadelphia.”

But some say Oh’s plan is too convoluted, because the language stipulates that an official could retain his or her current office during a campaign for another office.   The candidate just couldn’t appear on one ballot for two different offices.

Oh believes voters would not be stumped by the fine print.  “I think it’s very clear,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

Mayor Nutter has reservations about  Oh’s plan, with a top aide describing it as “a solution in search of a problem.”

But if Nutter vetoes the measure, Oh appears to have enough support for a veto override, paving the way for the referendum in May.