Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Council Releases DROP Report

City Council today finally released their long-awaited report on the controversial DROP program.

Council Releases DROP Report


City Council today finally released their long-awaited report on the controversial DROP program.

As expected, Council's consultant, Bolton Partners Inc., found that the city's controversial Deferred Retirement Option Plan cost $100 million - substantially less than the $258 million price tag put on the plan last August by Boston College researchers hired by Mayor Nutter.

According to a press release from Council President Anna Verna, the Boston College academics concede that upon reviewing the some of the questions raised by Bolton, that the cost would go down to about $150 milllion. But they said they would need to do further analysis to make any more adjustments.

In the release, Verna said Council is reviewing ways to modify DROP rather than abolish it, like lowering the interest rate on DROP accounts or raising the age at which employees could enter. Hearings are not expected until April.

Mayor Nutter today said he still wanted to see the program abolished.

"I don't know what these proposed modifications might be," he said. "The citizens want it to go away. We can't afford it."

DROP allows city employees who are eligible for retirement to collect both a city salary and a pension for up to four years after they join the program. The pension payments go into an escrow account, earning 4.5 percent interest, payable to the employee in a lump sum when he or she leaves the city payroll.

Public anger has been stoked by elected officials participating in DROP - including a couple who signed up for it, ran for re-election, "retired" for a single day, collected six-figure DROP payments, then resumed collecting city paychecks. Three Council members enrolled in DROP plan to run for re-election - Marian Tasco, Frank DiCicco and Frank Rizzo. Another three will retire.

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William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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