Rendell squares off with Fox, Council grapples with DROP

    I remember hearing in December when Ed Rendell was about to leave the Pennsylvania governor’s office that he was negotiating for a big number to do regular commentary for Fox News.

    We now have confirmation of a sort from the Fox team after Rendell appeared on MSNBC’s Ed Show and said it’s clear Fox is biased. Fox News executive Bill Shine told Politico that Rendell “didn’t seem to have an issue with our ‘credibility’ or ‘impartiality’ when he was trying to shake us down for more money before signing with MSNBC.”

    You can see Rendell’s appearance on The Ed Show here.

    Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s Deferred Retirement Option Program, which cut a devastating swath through incumbents in the May 17th primary, remains a live issue.

    Democratic City Council candidate Bill Rubin sent a press release to reporters at 6 a.m. yesterday going after incumbent Republican Brian O’Neill on DROP, even though O’Neill hasn’t signed up for the program.

    Rubin noted that O’Neill is legally eligible to sign up in the future, and could bag a lump sum payment of more than a half million bucks upon retirement. And since Rubin used to serve on the city pension board, he came up with a form he said O’Neill should sign foregoing any future benefit from DROP.

    Is it fair? I don’t know, but I had to admire the political craft of it. I expect Rubin will be waving that form from now until November 8th.

    I got O’Neill on the phone, who said he’s not interested in Rubin or his forms.

    “I’m not enrolled in DROP. I never plan on taking DROP. End of story,” he said.

    Meanwhile I hear a bill aimed at curbing the costs of the program will be introduced in Council today, perhaps by Councilwoman Marian Tasco, who’s taken plenty of heat for being enrolled in DROP.

    As our Tom MacDonald reports, Council is dis-inclined to eliminate the program as Mayor Nutter wants. It will be interesting to see if keeping a less-costly version of the program will defuse the issue for voters.

    My guess is no. This thing has reached a point where any elected official connected to DROP  in any way will be burned by it.

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