Letters: Philadelphia city solicitor Shelley R. Smith corrects Philadelphia Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky

IN STU BYKOFSKY'S Jan. 26 column, he erroneously stated that I am "eligible" to enter the Deferred Retirement Option Plan.

After I disputed this assertion - because I have not met the age requirements for DROP - and Mr. Bykofsky and I exchanged several e-mail messages, Mr. Bykofsky said that he had only asked the Pension Board about the general eligibility for the position of city solicitor, and not about my own personal eligibility.

Mr. Bykofsky promised to submit a correction for the Jan. 28 paper. Unfortunately, the "correction" does not address the problem. In it, the paper simply indicates that "all city employees are 'eligible' for DROP, but must first meet the requirements for length of service and age."

Mr. Bykofsky seems determined to confuse Daily News readers as to the concept of eligibility, as this "correction" is akin to saying that an individual hired tomorrow is "eligible" for DROP because they may, someday, meet the requirements for length of service and age.

In fact, an employee who is "eligible" must have both achieved the requisite 10 years of service and meet the age requirement for retirement at the time the employee seeks to collect his accrued retirement benefits.

An employee who has not met both requirements is not considered "eligible" for DROP. Unfortunately for Mr. Bykofsky - though luckily for me - I have managed to give the city more than a decade of service at a relatively young age, and I do not meet the age requirement, nor will I during the mayor's current (or potential future) term in office.

I am, thus, not eligible to enroll in DROP.

Shelley R. Smith

City Solicitor

Philadelphia