Jim Kenney’s mayoral term in Philadelphia ends at 11:59 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, but the next mayor will officially assume office as soon as Kenney steps down, according to the city’s Home Rule Charter. The inauguration ceremony, usually held the morning after the outgoing mayor’s term ends, is scheduled for Jan. 2 to avoid clashing with the annual Mummers Parade.
While the swearing-in ceremony is a tradition, the mayor-elect can privately take the oath at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, allowing for a symbolic ceremony on Jan. 2. The charter requires officials to take the oath before performing their duties, so a private oath-taking ensures a smooth transition.
The delay in the ceremony won’t leave a mayoral vacuum, and the Mummers Parade is unlikely to stage a coup. The next mayor, likely Cherelle Parker, can act swiftly if any urgent matters arise. The unique timing underscores Philadelphia’s commitment to both tradition and effective governance.