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Although Inauguration Day earlier this month was actually a City Council session, Thursday morning’s gathering was the first real session, and the first time the new-look council met together in City Hall.
With some new faces in the room — and some familiar faces in new places — City Council did a few things that haven’t been done in quite a while. First off, the meeting actually started on time promptly at 10 a.m., which had become a rare occurrence in recent history.
Secondly, the group held an in-person caucus meeting a half hour before the session started. Since the start of the pandemic, those meetings had not been taking place.
The morning’s business only consisted of passing the rules of council, but that didn’t stop about a dozen or so people from speaking on various topics during the public comment portion of the meeting, also held in-person.
Council President Kenyatta Johnson said the newly constituted council will move away from online hearings that have been staples since the start of COVID.
“Hearings are back in-person, council sessions obviously are back in-person as well as caucuses back in-person, and we want the city of Philadelphia to know that we’re open for business as relates to addressing the issues and concerns of the citizens here in the city of Philadelphia.”
Philadelphia City Council President Kenyatta Johnson presides over his first meeting as president. Johnson replaces long-time Council President Darrell Clarke, who retired from council last year. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
Johnson said he will have a style of his own when running the body.
He said he’s “an inclusive, hardworking leader. I’m also a great listener when it comes, not only listening to my members so I can support them in addressing their issues and concerns, but most importantly listening to the issues and concerns of the people.”