How the season of giving could land Philadelphia city employees in trouble

Pat Loeb
December 12, 2018 - 4:00 am

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- At holiday time, people like to remember those who perform a service for them through the year, with a gift or tip. But if that person is a Philadelphia city employee, a tip might actually get them in trouble.

Philadelphia's Chief Integrity Officer, Ellen Kaplan, hates to be a Grinch, but when it comes to Christmas presents from citizens to city employees, she says she has to be.

“Municipal workers are not permitted to accept tips or gifts of any kind of any value,” she said.

Philadelphia is not the only place where a Christmas gratuity can get an employee in trouble. Letter carriers can't take money or a gift worth more than $20.

READ: Philadelphia Corporation for Aging says it's in urgent need of donations

Many suburban governments make accepting gifts grounds for discipline.

Larry King in Bucks County, though, notes many local governments contract out trash collection to private companies, whose employees are not bound by those rules.

Lower Merion says it doesn't encourage tips but no one would be fired for accepting them.

When in doubt, Kaplan suggests, “Just say thank you.”

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