On Saturday,as nearly two feet of snow fell on Philadelphia, city commissioner Lisa Deeley was sitting on her couch at home emailing with her staff about a proposal requiring herself and her fellow commissioners to commit “substantial time and effort” to their jobs.
But Deeley’s proposal, introduced at a hearing of the City Commissioners onWednesday morning, didn’t move forward after neither of her colleagues,Chair of the City Commissioners Anthony Clarkand Commissioner Al Schmidt, would second her motion.
“It was nixed today,” Deeley, a Democrat in her first term, told Metro after the hearing. “It isn’t dead. It just didn’t move … We can see if they’re open to it at some point in executive session,or we can introduce it in another meeting and try again.”
The reason for Deeley’s motion was recent outcry over Clark’s performance –or alleged lack thereof.
The chair of the board that oversees elections in Philly has been under criticism since Philadelphia City Paper reported he had not voted in the last several elections. The Daily News and Inquirer have sniffed around his office and reported that Clark, a Democrat, who earns $138,612 andis rarely seen in his office — and when he is, is reportedlyclad in sweatsuits.
That wasn’t the case Wednesday when he invited a Metro photographer into the inner sanctum. “Come by anytime,” he told the shutterbug.
But he did not respond to calls and emails for comment on why he did not support Deeley’sproposal.
Neither of them verbally acknowledged the proposal during Wednesday’s hearing; Schmidt, the board’s lone Republican,just transitioned todiscussinghis proposals forfuture votes, including developing a formal mission statement for the board.
Clark has defended criticism of his performance and lack of an email account by saying he has been sick has worked remotely, and is always available by phone.
Clark wasre-elected to his third term this year, and immediately signedup for a $495,000 DROP pension payment to be received in five years. In the weeks since, hiswork habitshavebeen bashed by Congressman Bob Brady, chair of the Philly Democratic Committee,Mayor Jim Kenney, and nonprofit political watchdog Committee of Seventy. Everyone down to city cops and snow shovelers are talking about his performance and high pay.
Deeley’s proposal was “to establish and improve attendance and workday accountability rules for the elected membersof the board,” she said.
It would require elected members to “commit substantial time and effort to the business of the commission,” and to “maintain a daily log indicating his or her daily time spent in the office,” with failure to maintain the logs possibly resulting in pay being docked.
“If there are are aspects of the motion that my two colleagues are uncomfortable with or don’t agree with, hopefully we can all work together,” Deeley said after the hearing. “The mission is to restore the public trust.”