ABOVE PHOTO: Mayor Michael Nutter
By Pete Matthews, President
AFSCME District Council 33
Mayor Mike Nutter is well known for staging photo opportunities and ribbon cuttings as a way to bring attention to himself as mayor. This is a tried and true tactic for many politicians and one that our current mayor has raised to an art form.
The mayor obviously likes attention, but only if it is positive. The revelation that he failed to pay his gas utility bill for so long that he was given a payment plan, that he ignored, and then a shut off notice and was taken to court for a lien on his home before he paid his bill is not the kind of attention that he might want. It is, however, the kind of public attention that he has used against other tax deadbeats in the City on a regular basis.
Normally I would agree that a person’s personal finances are a private matter, but in the case of Mayor Nutter, I have to make an exception.
This is a mayor who is trying to privatize the jobs of gas workers and is appealing an arbitration award for City firefighters for the third time. This is also a mayor who has failed to settle fair contracts with City workers represented by District Councils 33 and 47 for over five years.
His failure to settle these contracts has served to drive City workers so deep into debt that fully 58 percent of the members of District Council 33 are below the poverty line, even while working full time to provide for their families.
Perhaps Mayor Nutter should take his own experience in this matter and use it as a learning experience. He should put himself in the shoes of City workers who have gone without raises and increases in health benefits for going on six years and ask himself how they feel when they see his flagrant failure to fulfill the very same obligations that they are required to meet in order to hold city jobs.
Mayor Nutter needs to recognize that times are tough all over and that the City workers he is driving ever deeper into poverty by his intransigence in contract negotiations deserve the respect that he has denied them.
The citizens and taxpayers of the City deserve a mayor who lives up to the same standards of accountability that he so enthusiastically applies to others.
His actions regarding his failure to pay his gas bill on time are a learning experience for all Philadelphians.
We clearly have a mayor who can tell everyone else what to do but who acts as if those standards don’t apply to him. That kind of arrogant and dictatorial attitude carries over into the way he has conducted negotiations with City workers unions.
It is time for Mayor Nutter to get off his high horse, pay his bills, stop his contstant photo ops and out of town junkets and get serious about his day job.
The citizens and taxpayers are learning from this latest incident how much of a failure he is. Mayor Nutter needs to learn that Philadelphia needs a myaor with integrity.
If he can’t understand that basic requirement then maybe we would all be better off if he just resigned and went away.