Thursday, October 8, 2015

Kenney not endorsed by firefighters

Firefighters do not endorse Councilman Jim Kenney, citing his position on DROP

Kenney not endorsed by firefighters


The city’s DROP pension program has drop-kicked another politician.

Councilman Jim Kenney, whose father was a battalion chief in the fire department, was the only at-large Democratic candidate not endorsed by Local 22, the Philadelphia Firefighters' Union.

And there was only one reason, said Mike Bresnan, Local 22’s recording secretary: Kenney’s initial call to abolish the Deferred Retirement Option Plan.

The plan, better known as DROP, allows city employees to collect a large lump-sum payment when they retire. People who enroll in DROP also get their regular pension payment, but one that is usually less than they would have collected otherwise.

The program has been especially dear to police and firefighters, in part because they do not receive Social Security.

Kenney’s position on DROP has been complicated.

He supported Mayor Nutter’s call to end the costly program, but after a complicated series of events, Kenney backed keeping a cheaper version of DROP that Council had passed.

Kenney argues that he has worked harder for firefighters than just about anybody on Council, aiding them in battles over health benefits and challenges to the union.

He’s disappointed not to get the union’s backing this time.

“I love them and will always love them despite the fact that they don't love me right now. And I will never walk away from them,” Kenney said.

The firefighters are supporting Republicans Joseph McColgan, David Oh and Dennis O’Brien and Democrats Bill Green, Bill Greenlee, Wilson Goode Jr. and Blondell Reynolds Brown.

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