INQUIRER: The Deferred Retirement Option Plan is the program that pays city employees six-figure cash bonuses when they retire – on top of their regular salaries, pensions, and five years of free health insurance. Rather than get rid of it, city officials have raised property taxes 10 percent and passed budget cuts that will shut down firehouses, whack millions of dollars in police overtime, and shelve plans to hire 200 new cops.In the past 11 years, 6,638 employees have walked out the door with DROP bonuses worth an average of $109,277, costing the city $725 million, records show. Another 2,107 employees – including City Council President Anna C. Verna and five other Council members – are expecting bonuses worth an average of $160,525 over the next four years, or a total of $338 million. […] That’s a billion dollars in payouts in a city that faces a budget deficit of at least $600 million over the next five years. […] Diego and Milwaukee also adopted DROP programs during the past decade. But in San Diego and Milwaukee, the wasteful cash bonuses led to taxpayer revolts, recall drives, and criminal indictments. In Milwaukee, they put the architect of the DROP plan in jail; in San Diego, they voted to rescind the program.  MORE

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