One of the most notable elements of Mayor Nutter's recent budget proposals has been his willingness to forthrightly go after a few of the perks that City Council holds most dear: the DROP program, their city-issued cars. Fiscally speaking, these are drops in a bucket the size of City Hall. But politically, they are a very big deal. By going after the perks, Nutter likely scores a few points - and maybe more than that - in the court of public opinion. But he also appears to have alienated quite a few members of City Council with proposals that really don't help him close the budget gap. And Council, of course, gets to approve or reject his budget.
Today, he was asked about the state of his relationship with Council. His remarks seemed designed to try and smooth things over a little bit.
"I’m certainly hopeful that my very longstanding positive working relationship with virtually every member of City Council will remain. There are situations from time to time where we may have a slight difference of opinion about an issue or a policy matter ..."
When told that some members of City Council felt that he was attempting to publicly embarrass them by asking them to give up their city-issued cars, the mayor replied: "I did not try to do that."
"I have no intention whatsoever to ever embarrass a member of City Council, and I have no history of doing that. It was not done with that intention. That was not the purpose. I called members individually and privately and never said anything about this publicly," Nutter said, pointing out that the leaks to the press came from Council members and not his office.
Nutter then specifically asked reporters to "make mention of the fact" that Council had already cut its budget last fall, when the city was struggling to close its first five-year $1 billion deficit.
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