Tasco accuses Nutter administration of retaliating against her

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Councilwoman Marian Tasco says the mayor delayed work on a rec center in her district because of her stance on PGW.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Councilwoman Marian Tasco says the mayor delayed work on a rec center in her district because of her stance on PGW.
Posted: March 29, 2013

COUNCILWOMAN Marian Tasco accused the Nutter administration Wednesday of delaying a $3.5 million rec-center project in her district because she opposed an issue related to the possible privatization of Philadelphia Gas Works - a priority for the mayor.

Tasco, who also chairs the PGW commission, pressed Budget Director Rebecca Rhynhart at a hearing Wednesday on the city's capital budget on why an overhaul of Oak Lane's Sturgis Recreation Center was delayed last year.

In an interview, Tasco said the project was tampered with because she wanted the administration to pick up a $2.3 million tab for consultants to explore the PGW sale. Nutter wanted PGW to pay, and in January the commission voted in his favor with Tasco dissenting.

She said Wednesday that the delays were deliberate "to help me change my mind, but I wasn't going to change my mind."

Mark McDonald, Nutter's spokesman, denied that delays at Sturgis were related to PGW.

"The Sturgis Recreation Center project was not canceled, but it was delayed because the administration was focused on other pressing issues," McDonald said in a statement. "Now, it's back on track and moving forward."

During the hearing, Tasco repeatedly asked who made the call to delay the project. Rhynhart said several departments were involved with the decision.

"Who decided that the project was not going to proceed?" Tasco asked in one exchange.

"The project is proceeding," Rhynhart replied.

"No - it's proceeding as of February, but we started this conversation back in April," Tasco said.

Council President Darrell Clarke had been holding members to time limits this week but did not interrupt the interrogation.

"For some reason, the clock broke," Clarke said to laughter.

A source involved with the possible PGW sale said it's unlikely Nutter manipulated the project.

"The last thing the administration or the proponents of the sale would want to do is alienate Marian on this issue knowing that at a certain point they'd want to bring her around," the source said.


On Twitter: @SeanWalshDN

Blog: PhillyClout.com

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