When City Council returns in two weeks, Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. will propose a charter change that would reduce the number of at-large Council seats from seven to five -- a move that would effectively eliminate the two at-large seats set aside for Republicans.
"We should really consider whether we need seven at-large members," Goode said.
Currently there are 17 seats on Council, seven of which are at-large spots. No political party can nominate more than five candidates for at-large, which essentially leaves two seats open for the minority party Republicans. Goode's legislation would reduce the total number of seats to five and still allow parties to nominate five candidates. Given that registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 5-1 in Philly, the GOP would find it much harder to win any at-large seats under the proposed legislation.
"I believe there should be open and fair competition for the seats," said Goode, who added that the two current Republican at-large Councilman Jack Kelly and Frank Rizzo are in the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) so he expects them to retire before the next election.
But Rizzo has not actually committed to leaving.
At-large Councilman Jim Kenney said he hadn't seen the legislation, but that the issue deserved review.
"Certainly it has merit to have discussion about," Kenney said. "I never understood the set-aside for the Republicans anyway."