DROP reform and sick leave bill quietly go through Philadelphia City Council

While the proposed soda tax fizzled out Thursday in Philadelphia, City Council quietly passed two other important pieces of legislation.

Council passed modifications to the DROP retirement incentive program by a 14-3 margin. Councilman Frank DiCicco says he voted against it because voters want DROP ended, not just made less expensive.

“I don’t want to seem like a hypocrite as someone who is collecting a DROP payment but I don’t think it’s the right thing to do. The public made it very clear in the last election that they want DROP to go away,” said DiCicco.

The bill make changes to how the benefits are calculated to curb costs, but it does nothing to end the practice that became a flashpoint of public anger: elected officials making themselves eligible for DROP.

Council also approved a bill demanding that employers with five or more employees offer paid sick time to workers, but only by a 9 to 8 margin. Business interests in the city had opposed the measure, saying it would harm job creation during a time of high unemployment.

Councilman Bill Green cast the clinching vote after, he said, long discussions with colleagues.

“We’re a legislative body and in legislative bodies people work together to help them accomplish things,” said Green. “I think that’s what you saw happen today, a legislative body pulling together.”

If Mayor Nutter vetoes the mandatory sick time bill, it doesn’t have enough votes at this point for an override.

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