Councilman Bill Green will tomorrow introduce legislation on the controversial issue of elected officials in the Deferred Retirement Option Program.
But this bill may move a little more smoothly than previous attempts to reform DROP. Green plans to introduce an ordinance that would bar future elected officials from DROP. The legislation would formalize locally what is already in state law.
DROP lets city workers 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 then receive those payments in a lump sum when they retire. Elected officials have also entered the program -- six council members are currently enrolled -- and a loophole allows them to run for re-election and resign for a day to get their payout and then return to office.
Critics say the program is not designed for elected officials. Still, several attempts to block elected officials from DROP -- by both Green and Mayor Nutter -- have failed in City Council. But a piece of state legislation passed in the fall to provide Philadelphia with budget assistance, also dictated that elected officials may not enter deferred retirement programs.
Green says he has Council support for the ordinance, which would not affect those currently in DROP or already in elected office.
“I’d like to think that the debates that happened in City Council on this issue are what inspired state action and that we in City Council deserve credit for raising and debating this issue,” Green said.