By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The ink was barely dry on Mayor Nutter’s plan to sell the Philadelphia Gas Works to a private utility when it became clear that the move faces an extremely tough sell on City Council. Nutter, though, voices optimism.
On Thursday, eleven city council members held a news conference in support of the union representing gas workers. The union opposes the sale, and Council President Darrell Clarke sounded almost as negative saying, “I generally do not support the privatization of the municipal workforce.”
But Nutter later said he wouldn’t view that skepticism as opposition.
“I don’t think so far I’ve hear anything that I wouldn’t expect to hear. It just can’t be a surprise that with virtually no information, people may have varying levels of skepticism. That is not a surprise to me. And I think that when folks get more information, they certainly will be better informed, and might come to a different conclusion.”
Nutter wants to sell PGW to a Connecticut firm for nearly $2 billion with about a quarter of the proceeds going to prop up the struggling city workers pension fund.
Some on council are unhappy they were left out of the process during which the winning bidder was chosen. Nutter says that secrecy was a legal necessity.
The deal must be approved both by Council and the state Public Utility Commission.