City Council members say they are no longer getting the kind of cooperation from the Mayor’s Office they expected in their investigation of the deadly building collapse in Center City.
The June 5 collapse on 22nd and Market Street, which killed six people and injured 14 others, led to the creation of an investigation committee from city council.
“We said from the outset that this committee was put together in an effort to quickly figure out what went wrong and try to put in place things to keep it from happening again,” said councilman Jim Kenney. “We’re not getting a lot of cooperation.”
The Council received a letter from Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison which Kenney claims delivers a blow to their investigation efforts. The letter starts off thanking the Council Committee for its work. It then goes on to say that “no other administration officials will testify at the committee’s hearings.”
“Why?” asked Kenney. “What would be the benefit of not having the health commissioner give his opinion about asbestos removal?”
Kenney says the committee believes it’s crucial that three other top administrators testify.
“We wanted the revenue department to come in,” he said. “We wanted the fire department to come in. We wanted the health department to be there.”
A source with the Salvation Army also tells NBC10 that the organization was still negotiating a safety plan with the property owner before the demolition started. The attorney representing the property owner stated tarp and plywood would be used to protect the thrift store, according to the source. But the source says demolition started without a safety agreement or the Salvation Army’s knowledge.
“The deputy mayor and his office were in contact with the parties, urging them to sit down and work out their differences,” said the Mayor’s press secretary Mark McDonald.
In the meantime, Kenney says he hopes the city changes its mind about testifying in order to make things safer.
“Without their input it’s hard to do,” said Kenney.
NBC10 reached out to the Mayor’s Office for comment on the letter. So far we have not heard back from them.