Solicitor: Council can nix DROP

On the very day Mayor Michael Nutter called on City Council to end a Deferred Retirement Option Plan that drained $258 million despite being touted as a cost-neutral program, City Council President Anna Verna sent a letter to City Solicitor Shelley Smith.

In it, she asked Smith whether current employees had a “constitutionally protected property right” to continue DROP, and whether the city needed to negotiate with unions before acting. Verna didn’t like the answers she got: The city has the legal right to drop DROP for those not already enrolled.

Though Smith’s 13-page opinion addresses each initial question, Verna said it “provides far less guidance than any opinion I can recall.”

“My colleagues and I will continue to aggressively pursue our independent review and public hearing,” Verna said in a written statement. “I am disappointed with the City Solicitor’s opinion.”

Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald said yesterday that he hadn’t seen the opinion, but that “the administration favors the termination of the program because of its cost.”

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