City Council votes to modify DROP

June 8, 2011 3:50:41 PM PDT
The committee vote to modify DROP was overwhelming.

The controversial retirement plan will change slightly, but exempts police and fire personnel from one of the major costs saving changes.

DROP allows city workers to start collecting their pension in an interest-bearing account for up to four years before they actually retire, with a lump sum payment when they leave the workforce.

The politicians sparked a firestorm, however, after enrolling in DROP, allowing them to retire for one day, then taking the payment, then return to the city payroll after winning reelection.

Critics call it a classic double dip.

"No public official, public servant should be getting a pension perk that the taxpayers are not legible for and that the taxpayers are paying for," Councilman Jim Kenney said.

DROP has cost the city $100-million dollars since it began 11 years ago.

Today's reformers claim the new plan will reduce costs by shortening the eligibility period and cutting interest rates.

Why the exemption for thousands of police and fire personnel?

"The cost is on the civilian side, we're dealing with it on the civilian side with this amendment," Councilman Brian O'Neill said.

Mayor Nutter has demanded an end of DROP and he won't rule out a long shot effort to successfully veto this measure.

"We cannot afford this program, even the amended bill today," Nutter said.

The bottom line is that DROP survives, slightly paired back by cutting the interest rates.

Action News got reaction from those who crusaded long and hard to try to scuttle it.

"There's probably a slight improvement in DROP as far as taxpayers are concerned, but City Council did not do the right thing today," Zach Stalburg of Committee of 70 said.

Six council members who voted to retain DROP are taking their money and will not be up for reelection in November.