Harrisburg City Council Asks The Court For More Time
by Tara Leo Auchey
The Commonwealth Court hearing is scheduled for July 25th and the defendants—Harrisburg City Council—have no legal counsel. So, they’re asking the Court to postpone the hearing declaring they find themselves in a “precarious position of having no legal counsel to defend us against the remedies being sought by the Receiver.”
Receiver William Lynch has asked Judge Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter to issue a Writ of Mandamus to force City Council to raise the Earned Income Tax (EIT) on City residents. City Council has resisted the Receiver’s order to do so questioning the Receiver’s authority to issue such an order. It has been City Council’s stance that it will not raise the EIT. Because Council has refused, the debate heads to Court.
However, there’s no attorney in place to represent the elected body’s side.
At the July 10th City Council legislative session, a Resolution was put on the table to hire attorney Mark Schwartz to present City Council at the July 25th hearing. The Resolution failed.
Since then, City Council has not retained other counsel; therefore, on July 17th, Council submitted a letter to the Court requesting a continuance for not only the July 25th hearing, but also for the July 23rd deadline to respond to the Receiver’s Petition for Writ of Mandamus. Citing a need for more time to find and brief new representation, the Councilors write, “We fear that if this request is not granted, we will be unable to adequately present the defenses we believe exist to the order being sought by the Receiver.”
On his part, Mark Schwartz submitted a Motion for Leave to Withdraw his Appearance in the matters concerning City Council in Commonwealth Court because he has yet to be paid for any of his services. It is up to the Judge to allow his dismissal or not.
**Please do not download and post documents in this article without proper source citation–today’s the day Harrisburg