The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the city council won't approve the signed contracts between the Philadelphia Mayor's Office and EarthLink until at least April 13: Now, I thought back on March 1, the contracts were reportedly signed. The AP reported, "Philadelphia Mayor John Street said Wednesday that the city has signed agreements with Earthlink" on March 1. This Inquirer story says, however, the contracts weren't signed until last week.
And, apparently, signed contracts are valid in that city--perhaps this is common--until approval by the city council. I had thought the contracts couldn't be executed without council approval, but contract law works a little differently inside government, I gather. The AP story indicated this without making it explicit: "Street recommended that the city council approve the contracts." The council considered moving forward in a committee meeting yesterday, but expressed concern that there were too many unanswered questions, which prevents the vote from happening on March 23.
There are four contracts--more than previously noted--involved in the basics of this deal. The city contracts Wireless Philadelphia to manage the program and administer the social programs; Wireless Philadelphia contracts with EarthLink to build and run the network; EarthLink gets approval from the city utility to rent lightposts; and a contract that specifies the $74 per year rate per lightpost rented. There's a fifth contract between EarthLink and Peco Energy for electricity to flow to the access points, and that contract is under negotiation.
It runs to several hundred pages, overwhelming council members and their staffs, apparently. EarthLink and Wireless Philadelphia can abandon the deal if not approved by the council by its summer recess.