Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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