City Commissioners are facing another suit this week. 
City Commissioners are facing another suit this week. Photo Courtesy: Creative Commons.

Home rule charter suit dismissed - again


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Committee of Seventy and political action committee Philadelphia 3.0 had another lawsuit thrown out by the courts this week. 

The groups filed a suit stating that commissioners needed to be removed from their oversight positions if Home Rule Charter is on the ballot, which is true for the primary elections happening this week.

Common Pleas Court Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper rejected the claim stating that the law only applied to times when the commissioners legislate, which Philadelphia commissioners do not. 

According to reports from the Philadelphia Inquirer, “In those situations, a clear conflict existed due to their conflicting duties as legislative body and supervisors of the elections during which legislation they enacted as county commissioners would be on the ballot in an election they supervised,” Woods-Skipper wrote in the order.

The initial lawsuit in March had the court's president judge, Woods-Skipper, as the defendant whether initial argument stated that the city was required to replace the city commissioners during the current election cycle.

The Supreme Court dismissed the case and the groups filed the suit again in April. 

Commissioner Al Schmidt said told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “I wish the Committee of Seventy the best of luck in its ongoing search for relevance,” he said. “Because really that's what all this is about.”

President and CEO of the Committee of Seventy, David Thornburgh, replied to the statement saying, "That is fundamentally our point, that it's an irrelevant, overpaid office," he said. "And in our view, even the law says there’s really no need for it."

He went on to say that the groups are weighing their options.

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