City Council is eyeing legislation to deal with cops funeral costs

If City Councilman Jim Kenney were the mayor funeral expenses for slain Police Officer Moses Walker Jr. would have been paid for, he said.

Since he’s not, Kenney, a potential 2015 candidate for mayor is looking to sponsor legislation to establish a “hero” panel, a group of five members that would be appointed by the mayor, the council president, members of the police and fire departments and an independent member. The panel would determine on a case-by-case basis if the city should pay for the funeral expenses of uniformed employees.

“The devastation should have made any mayor or city solicitor say where’s the paper let me sign this now,” Kenney said, adding he doesn’t see how the city could decide not to pay for the funeral. “This should be approached and analyzed by people who have experience in this area.”

Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said the city is still reviewing whether Walker, who was gunned down on a North Philly street moments after finishing a shift at the 22nd Police District on Aug. 18, qualifies for funeral benefits.

Last week John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police estimated that funeral and related costs were $75,000 and for now the FOP will pay the bills through the FOP Survivors Fund.

“This is about doing the right thing. This process shouldn’t take weeks,” McNesby said. “What kind of message does this send to the city of Philadelphia?”