Surprise: City Council Says Mayor’s DROP Study Exaggerated Costs
By Tom Mulkeen, Contributing Writer
The Philadelphia City Council released its own study Tuesday on the much maligned city pension program for public sector employees known as DROP.
The program has become a major issue in the upcoming City Council elections because three current members (DiCicco, Tasco, and Rizzo) are eligible to receive large checks from the city should they win and opt to “retire” for one day.
City Council President Anne Verna (D-2), who is retiring, hired Bolton Partners to conduct their own study after Boston College released their study commissioned by Mayor Nutter in August of last year, which found the program had cost Philadelphia taxpayers $258 million. According to an article by Fox Philadelphia, the Council’s report shows the program has actually only cost the city about $100 million instead of $258 million over the last decade.
Apparently, the discrepancies between the numbers come from two major mistakes made by the BC study and one instance of the study relying on incomplete data. According to the city council’s press release cited in the article, “BC acknowledges that the errors were made, but it has yet to recalculate its estimate after correcting for the errors.”
The two mistakes stemmed from “failing to account for all pension payment options and failing to factor in replacement cost savings.”
Randy LoBasso of the Phillynow blog had harsh words for the new study, sarcastically leading his article by stating that the Council’s study had found that DROP was nothing to worry about, to no one’s surprise.
“The citizens want it to go away. We can’t afford it,” Mayor Nutter said after the study was released according to Lobasso’s article.
The council will be conducting a study to try and find a way to make the program cost-neutral and then have public hearings on the program in April right before the May 17 primaries for City Council.