Mayor, a candidate to replace him spar on Philly pension bonus

Listen

The city of Philadelphia is giving a pension bonus to its workers even though the system is severely underfunded. The bonus comes courtesy of a candidate for mayor.

The 2007 bill, championed by then-City Councilman Jim Kenney, mandates the pension fund pay out $62 million in bonuses because the city’s investments outperformed their goals.

But with pension accounts only 48 percent funded, Mayor Michael Nutter said, Philadelphia can’t afford the bonuses.

“The fund needs to be stable for the retirees in the first place and any dollars that we have to contribute additionally takes away from city services for our children, for retirees, for everyone here in the city,” he said. “Sometimes you just can’t give everyone everything that they want.”

A representative of the Kenney campaign, who said Wednesday the candidate will work to shore up pensions, called it immoral to deny the first increase for retirees in seven years when earnings are beating projections.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.