Will DROP hurt Donatucci?

Demo­crat Ron Donatucci, the city’s re­gister of wills, is en­rolled in the De­ferred Re­tire­ment Op­tion Plan and ori­gin­ally planned to step down after com­plet­ing his eighth four-year term in 2011.

However, as sev­er­al oth­er elec­ted of­fi­cials have done, he is seek­ing to re­turn to of­fice after his brief “re­tire­ment.”

Re­pub­lic­an Linda Wolfe Bate­man hopes voters grant Donatucci’s first wish on Tues­day.

“Give him his de­sire to re­tire,” she said.

Donatucci, who was un­avail­able for com­ment, is a 63-year-old law­yer from South Phil­adelphia. He has served as Demo­crat­ic lead­er of the 26th Ward for 37 years. He was elec­ted a state rep­res­ent­at­ive in 1976, leav­ing of­fice after win­ning his cur­rent post.

The Re­gister of Wills of­fice em­ploys 65 people and is of­ten cri­ti­cized as a pat­ron­age haven. The of­fice, loc­ated in City Hall, handles wills, es­tates, in­her­it­ance taxes and mar­riage li­censes and re­cords. It re­mains open at night on Wed­nes­days for mar­riage li­censes.

As part of an ef­fort to bol­ster city fin­ances, Donatucci has giv­en back his city-owned car and part of his salary.

Bate­man, Re­pub­lic­an lead­er of Ger­man­town’s 12th Ward, will dis­cuss her can­did­acy on Sunday from 3 to 3:30 p.m. on Mar­vin Bar­rish’s Polit­ic­al Shootout, which can be heard on WIFI (1460 AM).

The chal­lenger, who has twice run for state rep­res­ent­at­ive, worked for the state De­part­ment of Rev­en­ue from 1996 to 2011 as an in­her­it­ance tax spe­cial­ist. She re­tired in March, hav­ing spent the last four years as the su­per­visor for the Phil­adelphia unit.

If elec­ted, she would “un­tangle” deeds and close open es­tate cases.

“I’m qual­i­fied. I know what I’m do­ing,” she said of her cur­rent cam­paign. “I know the of­fice. I know the em­ploy­ees. It would be a smooth trans­ition and an im­prove­ment from Donatucci to me.”

Bate­man ex­plained that DROP was ori­gin­ally in­ten­ded for city em­ploy­ees, not ne­ces­sar­ily elec­ted of­fi­cials. De­part­ment heads would an­ti­cip­ate re­tire­ments up to four years in ad­vance and would be bet­ter able to de­ploy per­son­nel.

“The whole idea is to pre­pare a re­place­ment. Demo­crats had four years to pre­pare a re­place­ment, and they didn’t come up with any­one to run against him,” she said. ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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