Oct 20, 2021 - News
Court rolls back public hearing mandate for police contract proposals
Illustration of a cracked magnifying glass over a police badge.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Police oversight in Philly has taken a step back.

Driving the news: An order from a Court of Common Pleas judge this month invalidated a bill that the city passed last year mandating a public hearing on proposed police union contracts.

  • The judge sided with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, which brought the lawsuit against the city in an effort to keep contract negotiations private.

Details: The judge sided with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, which sued the city last October in an effort to keep contract negotiations private.

  • The bill is preempted by state law, which guarantees specific collective bargaining rights for cops and firefighters, the judge wrote.

Catch up fast: The measure was part of a series of police reforms that city officials put in place in response to the 2020 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

What they're saying: Police union spokesperson Mike Neilon told Axios the bill was an "effort by council to demonize rank-and-file police officers in the city."

  • Neilon added that the now-invalid legislation only targeted the FOP, and no other city union.

Meanwhile, Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson, who spearheaded the legislation, told Axios in an email that she disagrees with the judge's order.

  • City officials have the right to get input from residents about policies and proposals, she argued.

What to watch: Mayor Jim Kenney's administration is "reviewing the decision" and its options, spokesperson Kevin Lessard said.

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