If you want to follow along as Council debates the DROP program, head on over to Philly Clout, where Catherine Lucey is live-blogging today's hearings.
One thing that struck us this morning: As speakers came before Council to testify either in favor of or against the DROP program, they were often speaking directly to DROP recipients. When Republican Mayoral candidate Karen Brown took the stage to bash elected officials' enrollment in DROP, the woman sitting in front of the room, presiding over the hearing and staring right at Brown, was Councilwoman Marian Tasco (DROP payment: $478,057, and not actually retiring). At most other points, the chair in the front of the room was occupied by Council President Anna Verna ($584,777, actually retiring) with Council budget expert Charles McPherson by her side ($528,000 DROP payment and hired back as a consultant while collecting a $113,500 yearly pension).
The municipal unions argue that top officials' use of the program isn't representative, and they're right -- the average DROP payment is about $100,000, and involves actual retirement. But to look at Council chambers today, it was clear how much those officials have muddied the water. And now they're the ones who will decide the program's fate.