Councilman Bobby Henon faces federal chargers, not calls for resignation

Pat Loeb
February 02, 2019 - 4:00 am
City Councilman Bobby Henon

Mike Dunn

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- One of the striking things about this week's indictment of City Councilman Bobby Henon is that not a single one of his colleagues, or anyone in city government, called for his resignation. Many cite the bedrock American principle of presumed innocence but it hasn't always worked that way.

Here's a sample of thoughts from Philadelphia elected officials on Henon's remaining in office while he fights federal charges.

 “He's legally innocent until proven guilty,” said Councilman Bill Greenlee.

 “And should be treated as innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Councilman David Oh.

“It's an indictment, it's an allegation, it can be proven in court if they choose to proceed to court,” said Council president Darrell Clarke.

“That's why there's a court,” Mayor Jim Kenney added. “That's why there's a process.”

“Due process and the law requires us to respect it,” said Councilman Brian O'Neill.

Of course, this has been as true for other accused officials as for Henon and it hasn't stopped calls for their resignation.

READ: Dougherty, Henon, 6 others charged with embezzlement, theft, wire fraud

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf called for former District Attorney Seth Williams to resign before his eventual conviction.

Mayor Kenney suggested Sheriff Jewell Williams resign after he was sued in civil court, and nearly 40 years ago, council itself was not so patient.

There were weekly calls for the removal of three members indicted in the Abscam investigation. But Councilman Brian O'Neill, who was in council then, says that was transparently political.

“The people that were calling for resignation were the people who wanted the power,” he said.

Then-freshman councilman John Street, he says, wanted to unseat accused council president George Schwartz.

O'Neill came down then, as he does now, on the side of letting constituents decide. City council primary elections are in May. Henon, so far, is unopposed.