Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Odd Timeline For Verizon Hearing, With Secret Meeting

A City Council committee considering a cable television franchise for Verizon has faced an odd time-line today. The public hearing, due to start at 9 a.m., didn't being until almost 11 a.m. Reporters wandering City Hall learned that a meeting of committee members were gathered in Councilman Bill Greenlee's office. Staffers there denied that such a meeting was going on. But then, after nearly an hour, most of the Council members on the committee emerged.

Odd Timeline For Verizon Hearing, With Secret Meeting

A City Council committee considering a cable television franchise for Verizon has faced an odd time-line today.  The public hearing, due to start at 9 a.m., didn't being until almost 11 a.m.  Reporters wandering City Hall learned committee members were gathered in Councilman Bill Greenlee's office.  Staffers there denied that such a meeting was going on.  But then, after nearly an hour, most of the Council members on the committee emerged.

What gives?  Why did a public hearing start with a secret meeting?  Councilman Darrell Clarke, chairman of the committee and the sponsor of the legislation for the Verizon franchise, said he and his colleagues needed to speak with staff attorneys about the issue. "We were discussing some procedural issues as to what the committee will do," said Clarke, adding that he didn't think the meeting violated the state's Sunshine Act, which sets out which municipal meetings must be conducted in public.

The Committee started its hearing but then adjourned to allow Council's regular Thursday session to start, with the invocation and the reading of resolutions honoring some guests.  Council then adjourned to let the committee continue with Verizon.  Council will resume its regular session when the committee is finished with Verizon.

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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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