Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A DROP bill in City Council? This one might fly

A DROP bill is expected in City Council today, and unlike its lonely predecessors greeted with disdain, this one should have a chance.

A DROP bill in City Council? This one might fly


A DROP bill is expected in City Council today, and unlike its lonely predecessors greeted with disdain, this one should have a chance.

Councilman Bill Green's bill would fulfill the state legislature's requirement that City Council bar future elected officials from the city's deferred retirement option plan, or DROP.

DROP was created in 1999 to retain veteran city workers by allowing them to collect both their pension and a paycheck for up to four years at the end of their city careers. Elected officials have jumped on the perk, and even found a loophole allowing them to collect their four-year DROP payment and still seek reelection.

Bills by then City Councilman Michael Nutter in 2004 and subsequently Councilman Bill Green in 2008 to ban politicians from DROP went nowhere, even though they threatened no one who actually might join DROP. Six Council members have joined DROP, and they said elected officials should be treated just like any other employee.

But the state legislature last summer, in exchange for approving the city's plan to borrow from its pension fund, passed a law banning future elected officials from DROP programs, and mandated that the city pass its own local law to alter its program.

Green's bill would do the trick while not affecting him or his colleagues. It is consponsored by Council members W. Wilson Goode Jr., Curtis Jones Jr., James F. Kenney and Maria Quinones Sanchez.

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