Council Back, Introduces DROP Legislation

It's the first Council session after a three-month summer break today and the issue on everyone's mind is DROP.

Councilwoman Marian Tasco just introduced legislation from Mayor Nutter that would eliminate the controversial program. When she announced her plans this morning in the Council caucus room, Tasco said jokingly: "Are you all listening? It's about DROP."

Six weeks ago Mayor Nutter released a study from Boston College researchers showing that the Deferred Retirement Option Plan is costing the city $22 million a year. He has repeatedly argued that the city simply cannot afford the program.

But on Council - six of whose members are enrolled in DROP - many members are holding off until they have more information. Council President Anna Verna has commissioned a review of the study by an outside consultant and requested an opinion from the city solicitor on whether DROP changes must be bargained with the unions.

Introduced in 1999, DROP allows city workers to set a retirement date up to four years in advance. At that point, their pension benefit is frozen and they start accruing pension payments in an interest-bearing account. Workers receive those payments in a lump sum when they retire, in addition to their full city pension.