Employee Political Activity FAQs

This was modified and reposted from Law Department's March-7-2003 e-mail by the Personnel Department.

The Home Rule Charter, in Section 10-107, places certain restrictions on political activities of appointed and elected officials and employees of the City, including employees on leave of absence.  In 1995 the City Solicitor issued the Law Department Political Activity Guide, a comprehensive guide that summarizes prior Law Department advice on Charter Section 10-107.  We have distributed the Guide to all offices in the City at least yearly since.  Also, the Guide is posted on the Law Department web page, and is published in the volume 1994-1996 City Solicitor’s Opinions.

In addition, every year the Personnel Director distributes a summary of restrictions on City employees engaging in political activities.  These restrictions implement Section 10-107 of the Charter, which applies to both civil service and exempt employees.  As you may know, Civil Service Regulation 29 details the restrictions on political activities as to civil service employees.  To reinforce these education efforts, we are continuing with our practice of distributing, periodically, the Political Activity Guide.

However, this year, for the first time, we are attempting to reach more City employees more efficiently by posting the Guide [electronically].  It is important to make sure that you, and anyone you supervise, complies with the restrictions described in [this] Guide.

I should make clear that the Guide is intended to assist officials and employees who have questions about the political activity rules.  The Guide does not constitute a formal opinion of this office and, due to the format, is unable to cover every nuance of interpretation.  In order to get our advice on a specific situation, officials and employees still will need to consult with us directly.  However, it is hoped that the Guide will assist City officials and employees in realizing when legal advice is needed and in recognizing problematic areas.

Questions concerning the Guide or matters relating to political activity may be referred to Senior Attorney Evan Meyer at 215-683-5008.  I hope you will find the Guide to be of assistance.

NELSON A. DIAZ
City Solicitor
City of Philadelphia
Law Department

Political Activity Guide

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