Decision time nears for council members who accepted DROP payments

    Philadelphia City Council members taking part in the controversial Deferred Retirement Option Program, or DROP, will soon have to decide whether to seek re-election next year. Six council members will draw a combined $2.2 million from the city’s pension fund in lump sum payments.

    Philadelphia City Council members taking part in the controversial Deferred Retirement Option Program, or DROP, will soon have to decide whether to seek re-election next year. Six council members will draw a combined $2.2 million from the city’s pension fund in lump sum payments.

    Under the program, an employee picks a retirement date up to four years in the future, and gets a sizeable lump sum when he or she separates. It wasn’t intended for elected officials, but some have joined, and they can actually get re-elected after planning to quit and getting a retirement payout.

    One is Councilman Frank DiCicco, who plans to run for reelection next year and thinks he deserves his a DROP payment.

    “I think there’s a little bit of unfairness just because I happen to be an elected official,” DiCicco said, “who will be collecting DROP in my case, not to be able to run for reelection.”

    DiCicco promises to donate his salary back to the city if re-elected. A new report says the program costs $22 million a year.

    Democratic strategist Mark Nevins says it’s unclear whether council members enrolled in DROP will pay a political price for it.

    “If the DROP program becomes a shorthand for taking advantage of the system,” Nevins said, “that’s the point at which it becomes a political liability.”

    Council membes Jack Kelly, Frank Rizzo, Anna Verna, Marian Tasco and Donna Reed Miller are also enrolled in DROP.

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