PHILADELPHIA, PA– City Council’s leadership team announced today that due to ongoing public health concerns associated with the dangerous Delta variant of COVID-19, City Council will continue to convene its sessions remotely, at least for now.
Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District) issued a memorandum to all Councilmembers today, after consulting with Council’s leadership team – Majority Leader Cherelle L. Parker, Whip Curtis Jones, Jr. and Deputy Whip Mark Squilla.
The council president’s memo stated, in part:
“It was my hope and expectation that Council would return to in-person Council sessions beginning this fall. Unfortunately, the very dangerous Delta variant of COVID-19 has compelled many governments and businesses to reverse their plans for re-opening. The Delta variant represents an ongoing and unpredictable threat to public health, whether one is vaccinated or not. Accordingly, after consulting with Council’s leadership, I am announcing the following procedures.
We will continue to convene Council sessions remotely at least for now. Public comment will also continue to be received remotely. As conditions develop, we will reconsider this decision, with the hope of returning to an in-person environment as soon as that makes sound medical sense.
In order to conduct the City’s business as normally as possible, there will be no restrictions on the types of legislation that may be introduced. Proposed legislation does not have to be related to the pandemic.”
Council President Clarke’s memorandum to all members also disclosed that the first Meeting of Council this Fall will take place on Friday, September 17, instead of the usual Thursday meeting date, out of deference to the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur on September 16.
Clarke’s memorandum noted that Councilmember Allan Domb submitted a formal request for Council to reschedule its Council session due to the conflict with Yom Kippur. The memorandum noted that Council’s normal practice in situations like this is to maintain the schedule as originally published, but to accept – and always grant — requests for leaves of absence from any Councilmember when a meeting conflicts with that member’s religious beliefs.
“After due consideration of Councilman’s Domb’s heartfelt request, however, I believe it is appropriate to make an exception to our practice and honor his wishes,” Clarke’s memorandum states. “Accordingly, our next Council session will be held on Friday, September 17 at 10:00 a.m.”
The memorandum states that Council’s usual approach is to postpone or omit Council sessions only when they fall in weeks containing certain official City holidays or elections, or when an unanticipated emergency arises. With that in mind, Council will develop a policy to govern the scheduling of Council sessions that fall on holidays other than official City or federal holidays.
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