Kenney: Where's the mayor?

Councilman James F. Kenney asks a question of Pedro A. Ramos, chairman of the SRC, during a City Council hearing on the Philadelphia School District's proposed budget, which includes a $94 million funding increase request. The hearing was held in City Hall in Philadelphia, Pa. on May 8, 2012. ( David Maialetti / Staff Photographer )

With many in city government reeling from the apparent suicide of a colleague and City Council voting on critical measures for next year's budget, Councilman Jim Kenney says he doesn't get why Mayor Nutter is in Chicago.

“It’s a very difficult time for the city,” Kenney said. “This is your town. You’re the manager of this town. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, I don’t see why you have to travel.”

Nutter is attending a conference of the Clinton Global Initiative. He will return Friday night, mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said.

“The mayor is taking care of the city’s business," McDonald said. “The mayor has been in contact with the family [of Ron Wagenhoffer, the L&I inspector who took his life Wednesday night] multiple times and with his staff from the very early hours when he learned about this."

Nutter was informed about Wagenhoffer upon landing in Chicago early Thursday morning, McDonald said. He has been in constant communication with top aides. He spoke with the widow of Wagenhoffer, who reviewed the site of last week's fatal building collapse weeks before it happened, hours after learning about his suicide.

"It is sad that Councilman Kenney finds it necessary to play politics with a tragedy of this nature," McDonald said.

Kenney responded that he's not playing politics - just saying that if he were mayor, he'd be in Philly right now.