Clout: Despite aiding Corbett, Doc passed over for posts

Posted: July 08, 2011

JOHN DOUGHERTY, business manager for Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, is coming off a successful election cycle after backing some City Council winners.

But that doesn't mean he's getting everything he wants in politics these days.

Clout hears that Dougherty, who has given Gov. Corbett political support in the past, expressed interest in appointments to boards that control four local agencies.

The jobs went to others.

Dougherty declined to comment about the appointments.

Kevin Harley, Corbett's press secretary, told us that he was not aware of any formal requests from Dougherty for appointments and has "no sense" of whether any appointments may be in the union leader's future.

We hear that Dougherty expressed interest in these posts:

_ The Delaware River Port Authority: Gov. Ed Rendell appointed Dougherty to the DRPA board in 2004 and again in 2009.

Dougherty made waves at the DRPA last year, raising questions about hiring practices, executive pay and the use of agency E-ZPasses by high-level employees.

Corbett cleaned house in March, naming himself chairman and appointing five new Pennsylvania DRPA board members.

_ The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority: This board, with oversight power for the city's budget, would have been a prime position for Dougherty to keep tabs on a sometime political foe, Mayor Nutter.

Corbett in March named Sam Katz, who three times ran for mayor as a Republican, to head PICA.

_ The Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority: Dougherty has been locked in a long battle over union work rules with the leadership at the recently expanded center. A seat on the board would have given Dougherty a great platform from which to wage that fight.

Corbett last month named to the board Rob Wonderling, head of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and John Kroll, who has 28 years of experience in the hospitality industry.

_ The School Reform Commission: Corbett last month named attorney Pedro Ramos, a former city managing director who served on the Board of Education before the state took over the local school district in 2002.

Dougherty's union gave Corbett $32,500 in campaign contributions, starting after he won a second term as the state's attorney general in 2008. Local 98 paid last year for general-election-day fliers urging voters in Northeast Philly to vote for Corbett.

And Local 98 also gave Corbett $50,000 to help pay for his inauguration in January.

Brady & Brown: Dog on bone

Karen Brown, a retired Catholic-school teacher and longtime Democratic committeewoman recruited by the Republican City Committee to run for mayor, visited Washington on Wednesday to express her concerns about the Philadelphia School District to members of the U.S. House.

Brown told us that her educational ideas - get rid of the teachers' union and tenure, create an elected school board - went over well with the 10 Republican members of Congress with whom she met.

"It's nice to hear people on that level say that I'm not crazy for wanting to do this," Brown said.

Brown also sat down with her old party chairman, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, who told her to follow her heart in the election.

"He said: 'I know you're like a dog with a bone. You're not going to let this go,' " Brown said.

Brady yesterday recalled that it was Brown who made the "dog with a bone" remark but said that he was happy to have met with an old friend.

"I've known her for 20 years," Brady said. "She said when she's successful - with a straight face - she's not going to forget friends of hers."

Lots to learn on City Council

Winning a seat on City Council may soon feel like enrolling full-time in a college program.

Mayor Nutter's staff is putting together an "orientation program" for Council rookies to launch after the Nov. 8 general election. Mark McDonald, Nutter's press secretary, said that the program will provide an understanding of government structure and the budget process along with a chance to meet the administration's senior staff members.

Sound familiar?

We told you two weeks ago that Tommy Massaro, a city housing director under Mayor Bill Green, is instructing seven potential new Council members. Massaro first taught the class four years ago for three new Council members.

"This in no way is meant to compete with or undercut whatever Mr. Massaro will do or what City Council might do," McDonald said. "It is very much in the interest of the Nutter administration to work with the incoming group and help them get up to speed as quickly as possible."

Council has tied Nutter in knots during his first term as his agenda gets shredded in each budget cycle. A bunch of new faces will probably be a welcome sight if Nutter wins a second term.


"Our government has one responsibility: That's to guard our language, protect our borders and speak English here. You gotta respect our language over here."

- Joey Vento, owner of Geno's Steaks in South Philly, speaking Monday at the Independence Hall Tea Party rally.

Have tips or suggestions? Call Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or e-mail

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