Editorial: Rizzo gets DROP kicked

Heck, you can’t blame Frank Rizzo for try­ing. Maybe he figured he’d be re-elec­ted to City Coun­cil yet again be­cause of the en­dur­ing clout of his daddy’s name in this city. Or maybe he figured the voters re­garded him as an in­dis­pens­able can-do guy.

Frank Rizzo figured wrong. As most know by now, he lost his bid in last week’s primary to be a Re­pub­lic­an at-large can­did­ate in Novem­ber’s gen­er­al elec­tion, and it’s re­fresh­ing to know that a nag­ging is­sue called DROP had plenty to do with Rizzo’s fall from grace.

That, of course, is the ac­ronym for De­ferred Re­tire­ment Op­tion Plan. It’s the much-ma­ligned pro­gram that was con­ceived for city em­ploy­ees a dec­ade ago but some­how be­came a money gey­ser for elec­ted of­fi­cials.

It’s fine that a cam­paign­ing Rizzo had said he wanted to re­turn the roughly $195,000 he stood to re­ceive from DROP. But he also felt the pub­lic heat that star­ted to rise with the pos­sib­il­ity that he’d be re-elec­ted in Novem­ber, re­ject DROP’s man­dated re­tire­ment, keep his six-fig­ure booty and start his new Coun­cil term.

He could have done that. You might re­call that elec­tion com­mis­sion chair­wo­man Marge Tartagli­one and City Coun­cil­wo­man Joan Kra­jew­ski es­tab­lished the pre­ced­ent for all elec­ted of­fi­cials by re­ly­ing on a city so­li­cit­or’s lame opin­ion to cir­cum­vent DROP’s re­quired re­tire­ment — the duo “re­tired” for one day, col­lec­ted their huge pay­outs in lump sums, and were “re­hired” to re­turn to the payroll.

Tartagli­one, by the way, will be pack­ing along with Rizzo. She lost her Demo­crat­ic race to a chal­lenger who raised holy hell about DROP.

It’s un­der­stand­able why Coun­cil­man Bill Green has been thwarted in his com­mend­able mis­sion to end these shenanigans. With a third of Coun­cil en­rolled in DROP, his fu­tile ef­forts were akin to con­vin­cing an al­co­hol­ic that he has to give up his job in a li­quor store.

In Novem­ber, City Coun­cil will change sig­ni­fic­antly. Here’s hop­ing they have the mor­al fiber to straight­en out DROP once and for all. ••

You can reach at jscanlon@bsmphilly.com.

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