Why was Nutter involved in SEPTA negotiations?

Anthony's post on Mayor Michael Nutter being “cut off” from negotiations between TWU and SEPTA prompted Isaiah Thompson to ask the mayor's office for a response.* Here's the answer he got:

The Mayor was only involved because he was asked to participate in the discussions. To the extent that his participation is helpful, he's willing to participate. If his participation is problematic, he's willing to stay out of the discussions. It's always been the Mayor's position that his number one obligation is to the 1.5 million people who are trying to manage their way through this TWU strike.

There should be no reason why the negotiations can't move forward. But with a deal like the one that was offered (11% wage increases over five years and no increase in contributions to healthcare) during a time when so many people are taking pay decreases and even losing their jobs, one can't help but wonder why a deal wasn't struck already. Again, if the absence of the Mayor is the only thing needed to strike a deal, the Mayor is more than happy to allow the negotiations to continue without his involvement.

What do you think? Would negotiations be hurt or helped by having Nutter involved? Is the Mayor doing everything he should to end the strike?

*this line has been updated. We initially thought Isaiah asked a more specific question than he did.

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