Sheriff won't quit until he clears 'cloud'

Philadelphia Sheriff John Green SE1HALL11

Philadelphia Sheriff John D. Green on Wednesday postponed his retirement indefinitely to work with City Controller Alan Butkovitz on a full-scale audit of his office to remove the "cloud" resulting from a blistering report from the Controller's Office on Tuesday.

Green, whose was scheduled to retire as of Sunday, said he will stay on for the three to five months a forensic audit would take. Butkovitz called for the in-depth audit of the Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, saying the Sheriff's Office had failed to provide information on its $53 million in accounts, leaving room for fraud and abuse.

"The sooner this whole issue is put to bed, the sooner I can go on with my life," said Green, the elected sheriff for the past 24 years.

"I"m encouraged that the Sheriff recognizes the need for a forensic audit, and I expect his full cooperation, as he indicated," Butkovitz said.  But, he added, "We're not going to go through what we already went through -- we're not going to ask for the same records 11 or 12 times."

While Green said he would stay through the completion of such an audit, he is under a deadline of May 20, when he must retire under the city's Deferred Retirement Option Plan. DROP allows employees to collect a lump-sum at retirement if they promise to retire by a specific date up to four years in the future. Green entered DROP on May 21, 2007, at which time he would be entitled to a lump sum of just under $400,000, according to information previously released by the Board of Pensions and Retirement.

Other elected officials have skirted DROP's mandate that they actually retire from City employment by winning reelection and retiring for one day just before their new term starts. While Green could seek reelection in the May primary and November general election, he could not start a new term until January 2012.