Kenney Staffers Blame Nutter Aides for Lawsuit Snafu
Is Jim Kenney the anti-Nutter? A week into Kenney’s term as mayor, it’s probably premature to draw conclusions — but it’s easy to see how differing priorities between the two men are creating complications in the early going.
Case-in-point: Bobby Allyn at NewsWorks has been bird-dogging the story of how the Kenney administration has found itself uncomfortably thrust into the position of defending a stop-and-frisk lawsuit it doesn’t want to defend. Long story short: The Defender Association of Philadelphia wanted access to the police department’s records on stop-and-frisk; the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records said the defenders should get those records; the Nutter administration appealed less than a month before turning power over to Kenney’s team.
Kenney’s team members say they didn’t like the surprise. Now, fingers are being pointed.
“We suspect now that maybe it was because they were trying to get this case through,” Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt told Allyn. “Obviously, stop-and-frisk was a policy of the last administration, and it’s not one of ours.”
Shelley Smith, Nutter’s solicitor, denied any subterfuge. “I wouldn’t have withheld information. I knew I was leaving,” she said. “What would be the point of that?”
You’ll recall that one of Kenney’s first acts was to restore Philly’s “sanctuary city” status that Nutter undid in his final weeks in office. Kenney has been in office a week now and already staked out ground opposite his predecessor on two big issues now. Who knows how long the list could grow by the end of the month?