Friday, December 26, 2008

Philly Mayor to Court Over Closed Libraries

Three city council members are taking Mayor Michael Nutter to court on 12/29/ 2008, saying the city charter prevents the mayor from selling buildings without council's approval. The fight to keep those 11 Philadelphia libraries from being shut down in a budget money-saving move by the mayor will be going to court on Monday. Mayor Michael Nutter and Free Library Director Siobhan Reardon, as well as the library's board of directors will be sued. This lawsuit is separate from the class-action suit filed by local attorney Irv Ackelsberg on behalf of library patrons and the ACFSME District Council 47.
Seven Philadelphia residents and the city's white-collar municipal union filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent Mayor Nutter from permanently closing 11 public libraries by Jan. 1.The suit, filed seeking class-action status, rests on a 20-year-old city ordinance stating that "no city-owned facility shall be closed" without the approval of City Council. Nutter has not sought Council's approval for the library closings, which he ordered as part of the city's response to the budget crisis.

City Solicitor Shelly Smith, who was given a copy of the lawsuit last week before it was filed, said then that the ordinance in question is unlawful and that it conflicts with the City Charter.

No City Council members are plaintiffs, but the Philadelphia residents (library users all) who filed the complaint have other powerful allies.

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