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DROP Challenges In Philadelphia Elections Shifted To Pennsylvania High Court

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Challenges to the candidacies of three elected officials in Philadelphia -- over their participation in the DROP pension program -- have now been shifted to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

A panel of Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judges says it is the state Supreme Court that should have jurisdiction over the challenges to the candidacies of City Council members Frank Rizzo and Marian Tasco, and city commissioner Marge Tartaglione.

Republican ward leader Matthew Wolfe, who is challenging Rizzo's re-election bid, is fine with the high court having the final say.

"It was going to end up in the Supreme Court eventually," he says.  "This is an issue of first impression, and it's important that there be a final, decided law looking down into the future."

Councilman Rizzo says he's pleased the state Supreme Court will hear the matter to expedite a resolution.

Wolfe and Joseph Doherty, the attorney challenging Tasco and Tartaglione, argue that because the three signed up for DROP, they are committed to retiring and not running again (see previous stories).

The Commonwealth Court judges did indicate that if the Pennsylvania Supreme Court sends it back to them, they would decide in the candidates' favor.

Reported by KYW City Hall Bureau chief Mike Dunn.

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