Singer Objects to Hearing on Passover

City Commissioner Stephanie Singer doesn’t think the schedule City Council set for budget hearings is respectful of the Jewish holiday Passover.

The city commissioners, who oversee elections in Philadelphia, are scheduled to testify in a budget hearing before Council on April 14, which happens to be the start of Passover. Singer said she planned to observe the holiday with her family in Washington D.C., and she “assumed it would be easy” to get the hearing moved.

But, she said in an e-mail sent Wednesday from her campaign account, “Council President Darrell Clarke has explicitly refused to accommodate my religious tradition.”

She noted in the e-mail that there are no budget hearings scheduled for Good Friday or Easter (which, of course, falls on a Sunday, when City Hall is closed.)

Singer urged her friends and supporters to call Clarke’s office and attend Thursday’s Council session, where “I believe that the issue will be raised” again.

Passover, which starts at sundown on April 14 and continues for eight days, is not an official city holiday. (Good Friday, however, is a holiday, and city offices are closed then.)

At the moment, the city commissioners are scheduled to testify on April 14 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. – the hearing schedule is subject to frequent change. Three other city departments are scheduled to testify that day, and two hours at the end of the day are reserved to bring back city officials who previously testified.

Council scheduled the commissioners’ hearing date with the co-chairs, Al Schmidt and Anthony Clark, who teamed up to oust Singer from the top spot in 2012.

Council President Clarke’s spokeswoman, Jane Roh, responded to Singer’s complaints with an e-mail of her own:

“The commissioner’s allegations are borderline slanderous nonsense,” she said, “and it was barely worth my time to even type that.”

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