THE INHERENT conflicts of interest between Philadelphia’s union bosses and political figures were brought sharply into focus by last week’s FBI raids on Electricians Union leader John Dougherty and City Council Majority Leader Bobby Henon.
To be clear, neither man has been charged with a crime, and we don’t yet know what the FBI was seeking, though multiple published reports say the raids focused on the union’s finances. In my view, the raids reiterated that the connection between Dougherty and Henon, who serves as City Council’s majority leader while simultaneously working in a paid position for the Electricians Union, is improper on its face.
The reason is simple. The Electricians Union – and the Building Trades Council that Dougherty also runs – annually benefits from hundreds of millions of dollars in city-funded contracts that Henon is in position to influence or vote upon. For that reason alone, Henon should not be permitted to work for the union while serving on City Council.