FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ellen Mattleman Kaplan
Interim President and CEO
(215) 470-8316 (cell)
CITY COUNCIL’S STONEWALLING ON PGW PROPOSAL “REPREHENSIBLE”
PHILADELPHIA – October 24, 2014 – The Committee of Seventy today accused Philadelphia City Council of stonewalling to kill the proposed $1.86 billion sale of the Philadelphia Gas Works.
“There is no credible explanation for Council’s refusal to even introduce the PGW proposal,” said Ellen Kaplan, Seventy’s Interim President and CEO. “City Council should drop any pretense that they are acting in the public’s interest by continuing to do their ‘due diligence.’ They have had months to examine the proposal and have had their own taxpayer-funded consultant’s report for weeks. Philadelphians deserve to hear all the facts, including the consultant’s analysis. If Council members have a good reason not to sell PGW, let’s hear it. Then put the deal to a vote. Stonewalling is inexcusable and reprehensible.”
The proposed PGW sale to UIL Holdings Corporation will terminate automatically on December 31, 2014 unless City Council approves the transaction. The full Council has only five scheduled sessions – October 30, November 13, November 20, December 4 and December 11 -- before their month-long winter recess.
Kaplan added that Council’s behavior has repercussions far beyond the PGW deal. “It sends a terrible message to any company considering an investment in Philadelphia. In addition to an outdated tax structure and cumbersome bureaucracy, why would a business look favorably on a city whose legislative body is an impediment to business growth?”
Kaplan urged city voters to hold Council members accountable for their failure to act on the PGW deal. “During next year’s city elections, ask the incumbents why they refused to hold a public hearing on this proposal,” she suggested. “With their reelection on the line, perhaps they will come up with a reason that makes sense.”
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The Committee of Seventy is a non-partisan government watchdog that fights for clean and effective government, fair elections and an informed citizenry. For more information, see www.seventy.org.