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Councilman takes aim at Philly's 'resign to run' provision

Councilman David Oh introduced amendments to Philadelphia's 'resign to run' provision allowing city officials to run for office without first resigning.

City Council Philadelphia Councilman David Oh wants to amend Philadelphia's 'resign to run' provision.
Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro

Councilman David Oh will on Thursday introduce legislation amending Philadelphia's "resign to run" provision.

The law, which dictates any Philadelphia elected official must first resign their office if they wish to run for any other office, was placed in the City Charter when it went into effect in 1952.

The provision does not apply to state representatives or legislators in many other Pennsylvania cities and counties, leading some critics to claim it creates an uneven playing field for Philadelphia officials seeking to run for office on a state or national level.

Oh said in a release the law limits the strength of Philadelphians to influence decisions made in Harrisburg and elsewhere outside city limits.

"If any other elected official from a township, city or county wants to run for another elected office, they do not have to resign their current office to do so," Oh said in a statement.

"However, if an elected official from Philadelphia wants to run for a another elected position, they have to resign from their city office first. By eliminating this provision in the City Charter, we are leveling the playing field for Philadelphia residents and businesses to be better represented.”

The amendment, which wouldn't go into effect until Jan. 1, 2016, would dictate while Philadelphia elected officials don't have to resign to run for a new office, they still can't run for re-election and a new office at the same time.

"This is a good government, positive public policy bill," Oh said in a statement, noting he introduced the legislation with the support of political watchdog Committee of Seventy and the Board of Ethics.

"Philadelphia is the economic engine to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and we have talented and passionate elected officials who could very effectively represent the interests of the city if they have the opportunity," Oh said.

"By amending the 'resign to run' provision, we will help Philadelphia have a bigger voice in Harrisburg, Washington D.C. and cities across the nation and throughout the world.”

 
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