It's now been three business days since Council President Darrell Clarke held a rare show of hands vote on Councilman David Oh's resolution calling for a performance audit of the Philadelphia Parking Authority, and there's still no record of that vote happening.
To review: In Thursday's session, there was an inconclusive voice vote on David Oh's resolution calling on City Controller Alan Butkovitz to audit the PPA.
Oh wanted a Roll Call vote, but Clarke declined, and brought the resolution up for a rarely-used show of hands vote (after searching in the rule book with chief clerk Michael Decker.)
Hands aren't searchable in the Council transcripts since there's nothing to transcribe, and the Council President's office doesn’t keep vote records, so there is no official record of this vote happening at all.
The failed PPA bill wasn't even entered into Legistar. It should have been entered, with its status marked as 'Failed.' But it hasn't been, and there is now no record of it outside of the news reports. No one searching Legistar would ever know this resolution was introduced. And attempts to open the transcript from the Council meeting result in 404 errors, so it's truly a black box.
The first step to fixing City Council is fixing how their voting information is recorded and presented. People deserve to know how City Councilmembers are voting, even when the votes are embarrassing. This is a basic building block of accountable politics. Politicians might prefer that citizens have a hard time accessing politicians' voting history, but nobody could seriously argue this is in the public's best interest.
Stay tuned: we'll soon be rolling out a survey for Council watchers gauging interest in new Legistar features and new ways of organizing information about legislation and voting.