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Judge Rules Candidates For Public Office In Philadelphia Can Receive DROP Pensions

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Three candidates for public office in Philadelphia can stay on the ballot, even though they’re, technically, retiring in order to collect a pension payment under the controversial DROP program.

 A common pleas judge issued the ruling, Tuesday evening, four days after hearing arguments in a lawsuit seeking to disqualify the candidates.

Republican ward leader Matthew Wolfe filed the suit, charging that council members Frank Rizzo and Marion Tasco, and city commissioner Marge Tartaglione, made an irrevocable commitment to retire when they enrolled in the DROP program. But Judge James Lynn ruled there was no such commitment.

“We’re going to consider our options, including appeal to commonweatlh court, which is likely,” said a disappointed Wolfe. “It’s an important issue, it’s something that we need some certainty with from them.”

An appeal would have to be filed within ten days because the pending election.

“All along I knew the guidance I received from two city solicitors and the pension board that there were no obstacles for me participating in the DROP and seeking re-election,” said Councilman Frank Rizzo, who says he feels vindicated.

Mayor Nutter and others have called for an end to the DROP program because it allows city officials to collect large pension pay-outs while still collecting salaries, costing the city millions.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio

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  • Anonymous

    If you ask me, and no one has, I think the Judge is in the DROP Program too. He’s just on the DL with it. I’m just sayin’.

  • Alex

    It is a shame that these people have to ruin a good program. There are city workers out there who make $30,000 a year for 30 years and look forward to retiring. The DROP program is a nice program for someone who has worked hard all of their life for the city without raises, perks and city vehicles. These people make a huge salary and collected and huge sum of money (which believe me is not the amount your average city worker worker would get) and they don’t even have the decency to retire. Shame on them for not even caring that what they do affects the hard working people of this city who deserve a decent retirement.

  • Luis215

    Are Philadelphians aware that the only City staff that are able to receive the DROP money and come back to work is City Council? The City Council staff is the only one who can enroll in the DROP program, retire for one day and receive the funds, then he/she may come back to work the next day as if nothing ever happened. All other City employees are unable to do such a thing. However the program is being threatened by the City Council’s abuse of that loophole that is obviously there. Also what about that raise that City Council received last year which was automatically incorporatd into their pay because “it’s the law”…a law that they themselves created and can change –mind boggling. As Philadelphians we need to begin to think about how to resolve these problems –maybe taking a more active role politically begining right now…and making decisions on what is ethically correct.

  • grumpy

    Let’s hope that the voters actually grow some and get rid of these thieves.

  • Frank

    Matt is trying hard, but I fear he is a loser on this one. We will get them in the election though

  • Deb

    they need to retire, give someone else a chance to work. Dang, don’t be so greedy. If you have to work, volunteer. and what’s the deal with that judge, is he setting up to do the same thing. you make me sick. here we are struggling to pay this dang inflated real estate tax and you are collecting two checks.

  • itz

    Phila Common Pleas Judge for Phila Common Politicians, all in the same bag.

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