Local/State

Philadelphia City Councilman calling it quits

Monday, March 07, 2011

Philadelphia City Councilman Frank DiCicco has announced he is dropping out of the race for a fifth term.

"I believe I've served my district well," said DiCicco. "I believe I've made a difference."

The 64-year-old councilman has been serving the First District for sixteen years. His decision not to run is in no small part the result of his enrollment three years ago in the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP). It allows city employees to pick a retirement date four years out. Pension payments then go into an interest-bearing account that the employee collects in one lump sum. It has become very controversial.

"I didn't want to be remembered as someone who was in the DROP Program, didn't retire and live up to my word," said DiCicco.

Under DROP, DiCicco is set to receive over $423,000. Even though DiCicco says his poll numbers show he can win a fifth term, it would take a half million dollars in campaign money to stave off the challenge from four opponents in the May 17th primary. DROP no doubt would become the big issue, overshadowing achievements.

"I always worked to try and find common ground to get the project developed, to get the jobs and create energy in the city but protect neighbors at the same time," said DiCicco.

One of DiCicco's biggest accomplishments is the 10-year Tax Abatement Plan that sparked development in Center City and on the Philadelphia waterfront.

"That alone is a phenomenal accomplishment and changed the face of the city," said Councilman James Kenney.

DiCicco's announcement not to run again brought mixed reaction.

"He's been a very good councilman, but I also think that the time comes when we need new people to come in," said Charles Handorf of Queen Village.

DiCicco is the fifth City Council member retiring. Among them is Council President Anna Verna. It will be the biggest Council turnover in nearly twenty years.

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philadelphia, pennsylvania, election, philadelphia city council, local/state, cathy gandolfo
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