Gary Masino, candidate for Philadelphia City Council District 10. (Masino campaign)

Union leader Gary Masino is the Democratic nominee in District 10, in the far Northeast. He’s trying to oust Republican Councilmember Brian O’Neill, who’s held the seat since 1980.

The 58-year-old Masino is president and business manager of the 4000-member Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 and holds other local, state and national labor positions. He was recently endorsed by Gov. Josh Shapiro.

Masino served on Philadelphia’s Zoning Board of Appeals and on the Department of Licensing and Inspection’s Board of Appeals under Mayor Michael Nutter, and was appointed to the board of the Delaware River Port Authority by Gov. Tom Wolf.

When he announced his Council run, he said Northeast Philly had changed for the worse in recent years. He said the district has become less safe — although crime rates are lower than elsewhere in the city — and is calling for more police officers to be stationed there. 

He also argues O’Neill has been in office for too long and is not serving the district well, calling him an “absentee landlord.” 

“The increase in crime in our community is alarming and needs to be addressed. Our police departments need to be properly funded, our teachers need to be adequately paid, and our small businesses need the opportunity to thrive,” Masino said, according to the Northeast Times.

The union leader says if elected he will push to simultaneously cut taxes and increase spending on police and teacher pay, according to his campaign website. He would triple funding for police recruitment (something Council is already working on), increase officers’ salaries, reduce their “income tax burden,” and further relax their residency requirements, he said. 

Masino wants to lower taxes for small businesses and make it easier for business owners to get training, city permits, and other assistance. He also indicated his opposition to the soda tax. He supports the 76ers’ proposal to build an arena in Center City.

While Masino has never run for office before, he briefly weighed a 2019 challenge to Mayor Jim Kenney. 

That was apparently because of a dispute involving John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, who at the time headed the IBEW Local 98 electricians union and was a close Kenney ally, helping him get elected. When Kenney took office, he booted Masino from the ZBA and replaced him with Dougherty pal Anthony Gallagher, then the head of the steamfitters union. 

Masino’s campaign finance situation

Masino drew notice earlier this year for his strong fundraising efforts. As of early June he had $377,000 cash on hand, most of it contributed by building trades unions, while O’Neill had about $354,000. Neither candidate had yet spent much on their campaigns.

Meir Rinde is an investigative reporter at Billy Penn covering topics ranging from politics and government to history and pop culture. He’s previously written for PlanPhilly, Shelterforce, NJ Spotlight,...