Camille Cates Barnett will get nearly $50,000 annually from the city pension fund for the rest of her life after June 30, when she leaves her post as Philadelphia's managing director after two years, five months, and 24 days.
On the same day that a City Council committee moved to close the loophole that allows short-time employees such as Barnett to buy credit in the city's pension fund based on public service elsewhere, the Board of Pensions and Retirement revealed that Barnett had done just that.
Barnett has paid $122,303 to become vested in the pension plan, according to the Mayor's Office and the Pension Board, a privilege unionized employees are entitled to only after serving five years.
She had already made some payments toward the buy-in this year, and paid the balance of $106,564 on April 15.
The buy-in provision of the city law was meant to allow public employees to serve in the military or in other public jobs and return to work for the city without sacrificing their pension.
Those employees cannot purchase credit for years worked for an employer from whom they are receiving or will receive a pension.
Exempt employees - those not represented by a union - were not restricted by the legislation. Councilman Frank DiCicco introduced a bill in April, shortly after The Inquirer first reported Barnett's situation, to require exempt employees to serve five years before qualifying.
"I just didn't think it's appropriate," DiCicco said Wednesday after Council's Law and Government Committee unanimously recommended approval of the bill by the full Council. It will be up for final passage next week.
"In a system that is only 45 percent funded, this kind of benefit is no longer sustainable," testified Finance Director Rob Dubow, who chairs the Pension Board.
DiCicco's bill would not affect Barnett. Existing pension benefits cannot be taken away from an employee.
Barnett could not be reached for comment Wednesday night. She previously declined to comment on her plans.
Barnett's salary this year is $181,693, making her one of city government's highest-paid public officials. Mayor Nutter has not named her successor.