Long Awaited DROP Study Expected Next Week

The Nutter administration's long-awaited study of the controversial Deferred Retirement Option Plan should be released next week, said spokesman Doug Oliver today.

Nutter first commissioned the study in March 2009 and Boston College was awarded the $80,000 contract. Oliver said that internal review of the report has delayed the release.

Started under Mayor Ed Rendell, DROP lets workers set a retirement date up to four years in the future. At that point, their pension benefit is frozen and they start accruing pension payments in an interest-bearing account. Workers then collect those payments in a lump sum when they retire. After retirement, they also receive their city pension, based on their years worked at the time the benefit was frozen.

The program was designed to help the city better manage the workforce by knowing when employees would retire. But critics have questioned the cost and effectiveness of the program. And some elected officials have taken heat for entering the program, only to run again and retire for a day to collect the payout.

Oliver said the new study will look at how the program has been used in Philadelphia. He said Nutter -- who has stated that DROP is not for elected officials -- is waiting to make any decisions on the future of the program until after reviewing the report.

Today's Inquirer features a column from freelance writer Ralph Cipriano slamming the program as a "scam with no discernable benefit to taxpayers."