Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Firefighters union: Call off the recall

The Philadelphia firefighters union on Thursday backed off its plan to oust Mayor Nutter from office through a recall election, saying their odds of success in “an uphill and costly legal battle” were too much.

Firefighters union: Call off the recall

The Philadelphia firefighters union on Thursday backed off its plan to oust Mayor Nutter from office through a recall election, saying their odds of success in “an uphill and costly legal battle” were too much.

“This decision should in no way be construed as a softening of the fire fighters' and paramedics' disdain for this callous mayor, who continues to defy the law by denying our members their binding arbitration award, which was upheld twice by a neutral arbitrator and once by a Common Pleas Court judge,” said Bill Gault, president of Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

While there is a recall provision in the city charter, that measure was struck down by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the 1970s, when an electoral coup was attempted on then-Mayor Frank Rizzo.

There are now no recall elections of state or municipal officials in Pennsylvania, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Thus, to actually remove Nutter from office, the firefighters would have had to appeal their way up to the state’s high court and win - not to mention convince a majority of Philadelphia voters to kick out the mayor with three years left in his final term.

The firefighters are angry with Nutter because he has continually appealed decisions that would have awarded the firefighters, who have been working without a contract since 2009, retroactive pay raises, among other benefits.

The administration says the city simply can’t afford it. The firefighters, who are not allowed to strike under state law, say that’s bologna and have taken to the streets in creative ways to show their displeasure.

The recall plan was announced at their anti-Nutter demonstration Tuesday during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the city’s first new fire station in 15 years.

The firefighters walked out as the event began and chanted "Re-call, re-call" at Nutter from outside. They said they would launch a campaign to collect the 45,000 signatures needed (under the struck-down charter rules) to hold a recall election against Nutter.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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