Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(1) No person shall seek or attempt to use any political endorsement in connection with any appointment to a position in the civil service.
(2) No person shall, for the purpose of influencing the vote or political action of any person, or for any consideration, use or promise to use, directly or indirectly, any official authority or influence, whether possessed or anticipated, to secure or attempt to secure for any person an appointment or advantage in appointment to a position in the civil service, or an increase in pay or other advantage in employment in any such position.
(3) No officer or employee of the City and no officer or employee of any governmental agency whose compensation is paid from the City Treasury shall, from any person, and no officer or member of a committee of any political party or club shall, from any civil service employee, directly or indirectly demand, solicit, collect or receive, or be in any manner concerned in demanding, soliciting, collecting or receiving, any assessment, subscription or contribution, whether voluntary or involuntary, intended for any political purpose whatever. No officer or member of the Philadelphia Police or of the Fire Department shall pay or give any money or valuable thing or make any subscription or contribution, whether voluntary or involuntary, for any political purpose whatever. 177
(4) No appointed officer or employee of the City, except for an employee of the Council, shall be a committee person, ward leader, delegate, or other officer of a political party, or an officer of a partisan political group, or take any part in the management or affairs of any political party, partisan political group or political campaign, with the following generally applicable exception. 177.1
(a) Such appointed officers and employees may participate in non-managerial volunteer activity in support of a candidate for any office, but not including for a state or local office for which Philadelphia electors cast ballots other than in a campaign for an office elected on a state-wide basis.
(b) The exception for participation in non-managerial volunteer activity in support of a candidate set forth in subsection (a) shall not apply to an employee of the Offices of the Sheriff, City Commissioners or District Attorney, or any officer or member of the Police Department, or any member or employee of the Board of Ethics.
(c) No appointed officer or employee of the City shall use a City title while engaged in any political activity.
(d) No officer or employee of the City shall engage in any political activity while on duty or utilize City resources for or while engaging in political activity.
(e) Nothing in this section prohibits an appointed officer or employee from expressing a political or other opinion as a private citizen or from exercising the right to vote.
(5) No officer or employee of the City, except elected officers running for re-election, shall be a candidate for nomination or election to any public office unless he shall have first resigned from his then office or employment.
(6) Any officer or employee of the City who violates any of the foregoing provisions of this section shall, in addition to any penalties provided for hereafter, be subject to a sanction of ineligibility for any office or position under the City for up to one year. 177.2
Sources: A Model State Civil Service Law, Section 19; Act of June 25, 1919, P.L. 581, Article XIX, Section 23.
Purposes: 1. Merit principles of governmental employment require the divorcement of politics from such employment. They presuppose employment upon merit and not because of political connections, powers and pressures. They also presuppose that governmental employment will not serve as a means for political tribute to maintain political parties and regimes. The prohibitions of this section are intended to sustain these basic principles and precepts subject to certain qualifications which political necessities require to be made at certain levels of employment and office-holding. Absolutism in this area is neither necessary nor practicable for the fact is that political parties are essential parts of the democratic form of government in the United States. This section attempts to balance the public interest involved.
2. All City officers, elected or appointed, and all City employees, civil service or non-civil service, and all officers and all employees of governmental agencies compensated with City funds, such as County officers and employees, are prohibited from demanding, soliciting, collecting or receiving from any person assessments, subscriptions or contributions for political purposes.
3. Members of a political party or clubs are prohibited from demanding, soliciting, collecting or receiving from any civil service employee such assessments, subscriptions or contributions. This prohibition does not apply to elected and appointed officers and non-civil service employees because political realism and democratic traditions require that a line be drawn here.
4. Voluntary contributions for political purposes are permitted to be made by civil service employees except that, because of the nature of their duties, policemen and firemen may not under any circumstances make any contributions for political purposes.
5. Officers and employees, except officers running for re-election, must resign before becoming candidates for nomination or election to public office. This requirement is imposed because an officer or employee who is a candidate for elective office is in a position to influence unduly and to intimidate employees under his supervision and because he may neglect his official duties in the interest of his candidacy.
6. The prohibitions of this section are phrased so that they may not be evaded by any indirect means whatsoever. Thus it is unlawful for a member of a political party to solicit advertisements from a civil service employee for a program or magazine the profits of which will inure to the benefit of a political party. It is likewise unlawful to sell tickets to a civil service employee for a dance or show benefiting a political party.
7. Any person violating this section is subject to penalties of imprisonment, fine and, if he is an officer or employee, to removal from office or dismissal (Section 10-109) and ineligibility for a period of one year to holding office or any position under the City.
The City was permanently enjoined from enforcing the last sentence of this subsection as to uniformed members of the Fire Department, by a decision of the federal court on October 6, 2003. Philadelphia Fire Fighters' Union Local 22, AFL-CIO v. City, 286 F. Supp. 2d 476 (E.D. Pa. 2003).