What’s happening in the Philadelphia City Council? Week of 02/23/2021

What’s happening in the Philadelphia City Council? Week of 02/23/2021

 

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN PHL CITY COUNCIL? 

Week In Review 

Monday, February 1, 2021 to 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Highlights of Committee Hearings 

Committee on Public Health and Human Services 

Friday, February 5, 2021 

Chaired by Councilmember Cindy Bass  

Resolution 200520 – Introduced by Councilmember Henon 

Description: Resolution authorizing the Committee on Health and Human Services to hold hearings to evaluate the City of Philadelphia’s plan for distributing, tracking, and otherwise managing the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Resolution 210041 – Introduced by Councilmember Bass 

Description: Resolution authorizing the Committee of Public Health and Human Services to hold hearings to investigate the City’s vaccine contracting process, including an examination of Philly Fighting COVID’s contract with the City. 

Summary: City Council spent four hours on Friday asking hard, necessary questions about the process of how organizations are vetted for COVID-19 contracts with the city, especially the oversight provided by the Philadelphia Health Department. These questions brought forth in the wake of the Philly Fighting COVID disaster. Philly Fighting COVID, a nonprofit, was charged to vaccinate home health aides at the Pennsylvania Convention Center but as stated in the hearing on Friday, “the city has no record of how many of the nearly 7,000 people vaccinated by the group actually fit that description.” The nonprofit organization was nationally criticized for not recording the demographics of people vaccinated. 

Health Commissioner, Dr. Farley testified that he did not personally interact with Philly Fighting COVID but delegated vaccine planning to Caroline Johnson, his former deputy who resigned last week after evidence surfaced that she gave the nonprofit organization an advantage in the city bidding process. Commissioner Farley was also very reluctant to answer questions as he claims the Inspector General is actively investigating this matter. 

However, Dr. Farley further acknowledged the city is behind on vaccinating people of color. He testified that, “only about 15% of vaccinations have gone to Black residents, who make up more than 40% of the city’s population.” City Council was furious and raised concerns of racial equity such as lack of internet access, language barriers, and the need to establish and offer clinics in underserved neighborhoods. 

Council Session 

Thursday, February 4, 2021 

Highlights of the Introduction of Bills & Resolutions 

Bill 210073 – Introduced by Majority Leader Parker: 

Description: Providing for the submission to the qualified electors of the City of Philadelphia of an amendment to The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter providing for expansion of the Board of License and Inspection Review, as approved by Resolution of the City Council; fixing the date of a special election for such purpose; prescribing the form of ballot question to be voted on; and, authorizing the appropriate officers to publish notice and to make arrangements for the special election. 

Bill 210074 – Introduced by Councilmember Jones: 

Description: Repealing Chapter 21-1200 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Police Advisory Board,” and replacing it with a new Chapter 21-1200 that reconstitutes and renames the board as the “Citizens Police Oversight Commission,” and, as authorized by the Charter, provides for the Commission’s appointment, the powers and duties of the Commission and the manner in which the Commission and other officers, employees, and agencies shall fulfill their respective responsibilities with respect to the Commission, all under certain terms and conditions. 

Bill 210077 – Introduced by Councilmember Quiñones 

Sánchez 

Description: Authorizing transfers in appropriations for Fiscal Year 2021 from the General Fund, the Council to the General Fund, the Department of Planning and Development. 

Highlights of the Introduction of Bills & Resolutions (Continued…)Bill 210080 – Introduced by Councilmember Green: 

Description: Amending Section 20-610 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Statement of Financial Interests,” by revising the required conditions and information for filing, under certain terms and conditions. The bill seeks to reorganize the group of city employees and appointees subject to the city’s financial disclosure requirements with two major components: 

“The first component would ensure that all executive branch employees who head departments, offices or agencies or are part of the Mayor’s Cabinet, file disclosures to prevent current gaps in reporting. The second major component would eliminate one barrier to public participation by exempting members of advisory boards and commissions. However, members of boards and commissions that exercise significant powers, like the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Board of Revision of Taxes, would still be obligated to file a financial disclosure form.” 

Bill 210081 – Introduced by Councilmember Squilla: 

Description: Amending Chapter 9-3900 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Property Licenses and Owner Accountability;” Section A-906, entitled “Property License Fees;” Chapter 14-604, entitled “Accessory Uses and Structures;” and Chapter 19-2400, entitled “Hotel Room Rental Tax,” to add and revise provisions related to the use of properties for limited lodging and hotel purposes and to the collection of hotel rental taxes in connection therewith; all under certain terms and conditions. 

Bill 210082 – Introduced by Councilmember Bass on behalf of Council President Clarke: 

Description: Amending Title 17 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Contracts and Procurement,” by amending Chapter 17-1400, entitled “Non-Competitively Bid Contracts; Financial Assistance,” to provide procedures applicable to the awarding of contracts to non-City providers of vaccine doses for COVID-19 and related variants, all under certain terms and conditions. 

The legislation seeks to codify the following: 

A Contract Relationship Exists: If the city provides vaccines to any organization, a contractual relationship exists, regardless of compensation. 

Contract Requirements: “No vaccine doses can be distributed to any entity to administer unless a contractual agreement has first been entered into. No city department can award a contract to administer COVID-19 vaccine to another group unless the city specifies in writing the experience a group must have; and evaluates the group’s response to see if it meets the criteria.” 

Economic Opportunity Plan: “The city department must specify that the group it is awarding a contract to administer vaccine will comply with the city’s Economic Opportunity Plan requirements.” 

Notification: “No less than 2 days before entering into a contract with a group to administer vaccine, the city department must notify the President and Chief Clerk of Council.” 

Reporting Requirements: The Health Commissioner, or an official named by the Mayor, must submit to the President and Chief Clerk of Council; and post on the city’s official website the following information once every two weeks: 

The entities or groups authorized to distribute COVID-19 vaccine; 

The number of vaccine doses provided to each group; 

The number of doses administered; 

The race, ethnicity and age of the people vaccinated; and 

The priority category (1A, 1B, 1C or 2) of the vaccinated persons. 

Bill 210083 – Introduced by Councilmember Oh: 

Description: Amending Chapter 19-2600 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Business Income and Receipts Taxes,” by expanding the distressed business tax credit to include businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. 

Resolution 210085 – Introduced by Majority Leader Parker: 

Description: Proposing an amendment to The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter providing for expansion of the Board of License and Inspection Review; and providing for the submission of the proposed amendment to the electors of Philadelphia. 

Resolution 210089 – Introduced by Councilmember Jones: 

Description: Authorizing the City Council Committee on Public Safety to hold public hearings examining the feasibility of a multi-state reciprocity program for witness relocation using United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Public Housing Agency (PHA) properties. 

Resolution 210091 – Introduced by Councilmember Brooks: 

Description: Authorizing the City Council Committee on Intergenerational Affairs and Aging to hold public hearings examining solutions to the ongoing housing crisis impacting senior Philadelphians. 

Highlights of the Introduction of Bills & Resolutions (Continued…) Resolution 210095 – Introduced by Councilmember Thomas 

Description: Authorizing the City Council Committee on Public Safety to hold hearings to review the motor vehicle stop of a young mother and her two-year old son and resulting police activities as well as other incidents that arose following the police killing of Walter Wallace. 

Resolution 210105 – Introduced by Councilmember Bass 

Description: Recognizing the week of February 1, 2021 to February 7, 2021 as National Gun Violence Survivors Week to honor and remember all victims and survivors of gun violence, and uplift the resilient voices of survivors in Philadelphia. 

Highlights of Final Passage 

Resolution 210038 – Introduced by Councilmember O’Neill for Council President Clarke: 

Description: Authorizing the creation of a Zoning Code Review Commission to evaluate and recommend improvements to Philadelphia’s Zoning Code. 

Resolution 210013 – Introduced by Councilmember Jones: 

Description: Honoring and celebrating Philadelphia’s Living Legends: Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, Rev. Gregory Holston, Rev. Mark Tyler, Deputy Police Commissioner Melvin Singleton, State Representative Joanna McClinton, and the Doctors of the Black Doctors Consortium, who were the “Guiding Lights” of the year 2020 and are trailblazers and leaders in their respective fields of medicine, research, politics, religion, the justice system and community outreach, as part of the commemoration of Black History Month. 

Resolution 210011 – Introduced by Councilmember Henon: 

Description: Resolution calling on Congress to pass HR 6422 to create a National Infrastructure Bank. 

Upcoming Committee Hearings (02/08/21to 02/12/21) 

Committee on Public Property and Public Works 

Monday, February 8, 2021 @ 10am EST 

Chaired by Councilmember Henon 

Resolution 200656 – Introduced by Councilmember Jones: 

Description: Resolution authorizing the Committee of Public Health and Human Services to hold hearings to investigate the City’s vaccine contracting process, including an examination of Philly Fighting COVID’s contract with the City. 

Committee on Finance 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 @ 2:30pm EST 

Chaired by Councilmember Green 

Bill 210004 – Introduced by Councilmember Green on behalf of Council President Clarke 

Description: An Ordinance authorizing and approving the execution and delivery of a Service Agreement between The City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development relating to the refunding of certain bonds previously issued to finance and/or refinance Alternative Funding Mechanisms for a portion of the unfunded actuarial accrued liability of the City of Philadelphia Retirement System implemented pursuant to the Municipal Pension Plan Funding Standard and Recovery Act… 

Bill 210006 – Introduced by Councilmember Green 

Description: Amending Chapter 19-200 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “City Funds – Deposits, Investments, Disbursements,” by amending Section 19-201, entitled “City Depositories,” by authorizing the City Treasurer to deposit funds in Santander Bank, National Association, under certain terms and conditions. 

**Please note the Committee of the Whole will meet on Wednesday, February 10th @ 10am to Approve Resolutions 200715, 200716, 210031, 210032, and 210033.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*