Saturday, April 25, 2015

Just who is Nutter's sign language interpreter?

Just like President Obama and Michael Bloomberg, Mayor Nutter was joined by a sign-language interpreter during his last two press conferences, but the question remains, is he here to stay?

Just who is Nutter's sign language interpreter?

Nutter
Nutter

Just like President Obama and Michael Bloomberg, Mayor Nutter was joined by a sign-language interpreter during his last two press conferences, but the question remains, is he here to stay?

Nutter’s Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Chief of Staff Everett Gillison told the Daily News that having a sign-language interpreter was important during severe weather events to better inform the public.

“This is not the first time that we have used an interpreter,” said Gillison.

“We see the added value in offering an interpreter depending on the event. We do not, as of yet, have a formal process for securing the services of interpreters established but it’s something we are looking into.”

Josh Steckel, 37, signed for almost 40 minutes with Nutter during a blistery and snowy announcement of the snow emergency outside City Hall Tuesday, and was again with him today to convey the latest updates on the snow.

Originally from Bucks County, Steckel has spent the last 16 years in West Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife and two kids.

A child of deaf parents, he said he grew up using sign language and has passed it onto his own children.

“I grew up signing and I’ve been interpreting, full-time, for six years now,” said Steckel.

“If I wanted anything or wanted to communicate anything to my parents, I had to use sign language, so it was never an option. I’m really glad it improves the accessibility – that’s the whole point.”

The Nutter administration recruited Steckel from an agency, though it is unclear if he will be working on a contractual basis or if he’ll be sticking around.

About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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