Sunday, August 30, 2015

Nutter: "No idea" what Willie Brown is talking about

SEPTA union transit leader Willie Brown - who is now meeting with Gov. Rendell - stopped by City Hall this afternoon and spoke with eight City Council members.

Nutter: "No idea" what Willie Brown is talking about

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SEPTA union transit leader Willie Brown  - who is now meeting with Gov. Rendell - stopped by City Hall this afternoon and spoke with eight City Council members.

During the meeting, Brown continued to voice frustration with the mayor, referring to the walkout as “Nutter’s strike,” according to Councilman Frank Rizzo. Previously, Brown called the mayor "Little Caesar."

He and others who were there also said Brown depicted the mayor himself as the deal breaker that ended talks Monday night, and that led Brown, in anger, to call for the 3 a.m. strike. “Apparently the mayor did something that he (Brown) didn’t elaborate on,” Rizzo said.

In an interview after the meeting, a flabbergasted Mayor Nutter said he was perplexed by Brown's comments. "I have no idea what the gentleman is talking about," the mayor said.

Nutter recounted the final moments of Monday night's negotiations like this: "Gov. Rendell and I came into the room (to talk with Brown and other union leaders), and since the governor has been the lead negotiator, he did the bulk of the talking. ... And so he told them that SEPTA was not putting any more money on the table, that this was their last offer, and that they had signed the agreement themselves. He said he thought it was a good contract and that he thought they should sign it - but if they felt they couldn't and had to take other action, including going on strike, then he understood that's what he had to do."

Brown responded saying that he could not, indeed, sign the contract, and said the union would strike.

"I didn't say a word," Nutter said, noting that he and Rendell left shortly thereafter. In fact, the mayor said, while Brown continues to say the mayor did something to offend him, Nutter said, "I didn't do a lot of talking during the course of the four days we were together."

The meeting was organized with the help of Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, an ally of Brown’s. Other members there included Maria Quinones Sanchez, Darrell Clarke, Curtis Jones Jr., Bill Green, Donna Reed Miller and Frank DiCicco.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer's Chris Hepp, Tricia Nadolny, Julia Terruso, and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

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