City Solicitor Shelley Smith just told PhillyClout that her department will file an appeal of the order just issued by Common Pleas Court Judge Idee Fox that put an immediate stop to Mayor Nutter's plan to close 11 library branches as of 5 p.m. tomorrow. The closures were part of Nutter's plan to close a $1 billion-plus gap in the city's five-year financial plan.
"The city needs to appeal this ASAP because of the finances," Smith said. "The city needs to appeal this because of the principle."
At issue is section 16-203 of the Philadelphia Code, passed by Council over then-Mayor W. Wilson Goode Sr.'s objections, which requires the mayor to get Council approval before closing any city buildings. A Common Pleas Court judge in 1988 ruled that the new law violated the city Charter. Council appealed and a Commonwealth Court judge returned the case to the lower court, where it didn't go any further.
"Obviously we're disappointed," Smith said of Fox's ruling. "Hopefully a Commonwealth Court judge will see it differently."