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More Wrangling Between Mayor Nutter, City Council Over PGW Sale

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(File photo: Philadelphia City Council president Darrell Clarke speaks to reporters in City Hall.  Photo by Mike Dunn)

(File photo: Philadelphia City Council president Darrell Clarke speaks to reporters in City Hall. 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) – City Council President Darrell Clarke is signaling to colleagues that he doesn’t want the mayor’s plan to sell PGW to be formally introduced in council until consultants study the deal further.

The Nutter Administration on Thursday transmitted to Council the legislation for the proposed PGW sale. At the same time Council President Clarke issued a memo to his colleagues, pointing out that the next step — formal introduction of the bill — would trigger a 60-day deadline for the city and the buyer to submit a filing on the sale to the state Public Utility Commission.

Clarke told reporters he doesn’t yet want to see that clock ticking, “There are concerns that potentially the PUC may come to a conclusion prior to Council’s deliberation and conclusion, that could be totally different from what we end up with. And that clearly would not be the appropriate process to take.”

READ: Nutter Announces Agreement To Sell PGW To Connecticut Company
READ: City Council Hires Consultant To Analyze Proposed Sale Of PGW

Clarke’s memo to his colleagues stops short of explicitly asking that the PGW bill not be introduced, and Clarke denied to reporters that that was his intent: “Nowhere in that memo does it say, ‘don’t introduce the bill’.”

But on Thursday, in fact, no member did agree to sponsor the bill, and some council members openly joked that an introduction was unlikely to happen at that meeting.

The mayor’s spokesman, Mark McDonald, said the Administration has no objection to Clarke’s deliberate pace, “They (council members) will do their due diligence to look at this matter, and the Administration is very encouraged by that.”

Mayor Nutter wants to sell PGW to a private firm for nearly two billion dollars, with about a quarter of the proceeds being invested into the struggling city workers pension fund.  City Council has hired a consultant to study both the winning bidder and the larger question of whether a sale should take place.

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