The People to Marge Tartaglione: We Don’t Think So

A group of fed-up citizens officially opposes her candidacy

At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, a group of four city residents aligned as the Citizens of Philadelphia Collection Agency will head to the office of City Commissioner Marge Tartaglione – the 77-year-old in charge of all city elections – to demand that she remove herself from the ballot for reelection to what would be her thirty-fifth year in that position.

In their petition to the Court of Common Pleas filed this morning, they argue that Tartaglione made a “false statement” when she indicated on her (typewritten) affidavit for candidacy – the one she had to submit to her own office, mind you – that she was eligible to hold public office. Not so, they reason, because she chose to participate in the notorious D.R.O.P. program, through which she pocketed around $288,000 in 2008. And according to their complaint, because she’s participating in D.R.O.P., which is a retirement program, she needs to, you know, retire. They acknowledge that there is a provision in D.R.O.P. that allows for a D.R.O.P. employee to be rehired by the city, but an elected official is elected, not hired, and there are no allowances for reelection.

The group’s attorney, Joseph Doherty of Spector Gadon & Rosen, says Tartaglione’s example “really represents the absurdity of D.R.O.P.” and that he expects a hearing before the Board of Elections as early as this Friday. Councilpersons Frank Rizzo Jr. and Marian Tasco are facing similar challenges.

Tartaglione refused to comment, saying through a representative that she can’t respond to a complaint she has yet to receive. Here’s a copy, Marge, in case you use the Internet.