The suspense is over and the 2011 primary ballot is official:
City Councilmembers Frank Rizzo and Marian Tasco, and City Commissioner Marge Tartaglione are all within their legal rights to seek re-election - in spite of their participation in the city's controversial DROP pension program.
Just after 5 p.m., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a one-page opinion affirming the ruling of Common Pleas Court Judge James M. Lynn that the three elected officials can run for for office.
However, Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille - a former Philadelphia district attorney who once ran for mayor - and Justice Thomas G. Saylor both disagreed with the opinion, issuing a nine-page dissent.
Saylor, who wrote the dissent, said he would have invalidated the nominating petitions submitted by Rizzo and Tasco, who in December will have to officially retire for one day before collecting six-figure lump-sum checks. Taking advantage of the same legal loophole, Tartaglione already did just that.
“Under these circumstances, I would find that Appellees’ supposed ‘retirements’ amount to a mere pretense, or sham, designed solely to obtain the lump-sump DROP benefit involved and then to continue on in the same position as before,” Saylor wrote .
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