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Councilmember Bobby Henon was convicted back in November 2022 of honest services fraud, conspiracy, and federal program bribery. Photo: Jared Piper/PHLCouncil
Councilmember Bobby Henon was convicted back in November 2022 of honest services fraud, conspiracy, and federal program bribery. Photo: Jared Piper/PHLCouncil

Bobby Henon reverses course, resigns from Philadelphia City Council

In the immediate aftermath of his conviction alongside Johnny Doc, Henon said he would hold onto his seat until sentencing on Feb. 22.

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With the first meeting of Philadelphia City Council in 2022 upon us, the day has already brought some surprise.

Councilmember Bobby Henon, representative of District 6 on council, tendered his resignation from the legislative body early on the morning of Thursday, Jan. 20.

Henon was convicted by a federal jury back in November 2021 of honest services fraud, conspiracy, and federal program bribery alongside longtime IBEW Local 98 leader John J. Dougherty, better known as Johnny Doc.

In the immediate aftermath of the case, Henon said he would not step down from his Council seat until sentencing, which was scheduled for Feb. 22.

He got initial support for keeping his position from Mayor Jim Kenney, as most of the rest of City Council stayed quiet.

Upon learning of his resignation, Kenney also reversed course from his initial comments, saying it was "the right decision."

"With so many pressing challenges facing Philadelphia, it is critical that City leaders—including our partners in City Council—remain focused squarely on the needs and priorities of our residents," read part of his statement in a release.

The only one in city government to raise the initial alarm was Councilmember María Quiñones-Sánchez, who had been calling for his resignation all the way back when charges were announced in the case in 2019.

She also introduced legislation back in December 2021 that took aim at outside jobs for members of City Council, putting a cap of $25,000 on what they could make in a year and redefining what constitutes a conflict of interest when voting on bills. 

Before serving three terms on City Council, Henon was a longtime member of IBEW Local 98, rising the ranks over the years to enter Dougherty’s inner circle in leadership.

Throughout his time in Council, which had a six-figure salary, Henon was also on the union’s payroll for $70,000-a-year.

It is with that union salary that the federal jury determined Johnny Doc had bought Henon’s seat on Council to carry out his bidding in city politics.

As first reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Henon provided a statement where he expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work for residents in his district.

Council President Darrell Clarke also provided an initial statement about what the next steps are, emphasizing that they would not be distracted by the resignation as they resume work on Jan. 20.

Clarke is also the one in charge of scheduling the special election that will take place to determine Henon’s successor in District 6. The date is still pending.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with a statement from Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.
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