Soft landing for a short-timer

What kind of an investment guarantees that if you plunk down $100,000, you will recover almost all of your money in just two years, and then receive nearly $50,000 a year after that?

For the brief 25 months she put in as city managing director, Camille Barnett could take advantage of such a lucrative retirement deal courtesy of long-suffering Philadelphia taxpayers.

Philadelphia Managing Director Camille C. Barnett announced her resignation this week.

While she won't be here long enough to vest in the city pension system by her June 30 departure, Barnett is eligible to buy into the retirement plan by virtue of her public service in other top government posts in Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C.

If Barnett makes a payment of more than $100,000, she could collect a pension of $49,880 a year, according to Finance Director Rob Dubow. That's a sweetheart deal.

But it also shows the need for the city to reform such seemingly out-of-control pension provisions. The city's soaring pension costs are one of the main drivers of the current budget woes.

From Barnett's perspective, she pretty much called this when Nutter introduced her in 2007: "There's so much opportunity here in Philadelphia."