PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Smack dab in the middle of pressing soda and property tax issues to deal with school funding matters, City Council dealt with two controversial bills dealing with sick leave and the DROP program.
The sick leave bill, which requires many employers to offer paid sick days, was approved by council by the bare minimum of votes. As for DROP, council voted 14-3 to tweak, rather than abolish it.
The final tally was 9-8 in favor of the paid sick leave bill. Both Mayor Nutter and the Chamber of Commerce were against the bill, describing the legislation as ‘onerous for business.’ Andrew Celwyn, who owns a herb stall in the Reading Terminal Market, asked Council members during this testimony, ‘If it came down to letting someone go, paying someone less, or providing sick leave, which one should be cut.?’
“If we pay for sick leave, something else will have to give,” Celwyn said.
A sponsor of the legislation, Bill Greenlee, remarked it had been amended time and again to address business community concerns.
“We had 19-separate changes in this bill. I don’t know if it’s a record, but it’s got to be close,” Greenlee said.
However, if Mayor Nutter choses to veto it, Council will need to change more minds. Twelve votes are needed for an override.
DROP survived but council voted to make changes to the program. Councilman Frank DiCicco was among those voting against it, even though, like several others on Council, he is a beneficiary of the program.
“I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite. I’m collecting a drop payment. But I heard it loud and clear while campaigning. When i decided not to run, (I knew) people didn’t want this program to continue,” DiCicco said.
Councilwoman Marion Tasco also was heavily criticized for signing onto the program.
“I think it has been a good program for the employees. That’s all I’m going to say,” Tasco said.
Tasco was asked about elected officials.
“When we passed the bill, elected officials were included in DROP. There was never a point in time when elected officials were excluded,” Tasco said.
The measure passed with an apparent veto proof majority.
Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio