DiCicco Will DROP Out Of Council Race Tomorrow

City Councilman Frank DiCicco will announce tomorrow that he is dropping his bid for a fifth term, convinced he could have won but saying he doesn’t have the “fire in the belly” to face the coming battle over his participation in the controversial Deferred Retirement Option Plan.

DiCicco said a poll he did last week showed his popularity in City Council’s first district was still strong enough to win re-election but that it would have been a tough fight in a crowded field.

City Councilman Frank DiCicco

“I made a bad decision three years ago to get into the program,” DiCicco said of DROP, which has become a political liability for several Council members this year. “Had I known it would cause all this trouble and confusion, I never would have done it.”

DiCicco, who is set to receive $424,646 in a lump payment for DROP, has attempted in the last 18 months to come up with a politically feasible way to reach reelection. He had suggested that, if reelected, he would donate his Council salary back to the city and only collect his pension payments.

DiCicco said he would have needed to raise about $500,000 for his reelection bid. He is being challenged in the May 17 Democratic Primary Election by Joe Grace, former communications director for Mayor Street, attorney Vern Anastasio, Mark Squilla, president of the Whitman Council in South Philly, and Jeff Hornstein, an official with the Service Employees International Union.

“I don’t want this to be what Frank DiCicco is remembered for,” he said of the anticipated battle over DROP. “I don’t have that fight in me to have to go 24/7 and raise half a million dollars.”

For more, read tomorrow's Philadelphia Daily News.