Details of Proposed City Employee Buyout Program Released

Dec 12, 2013

A week after Mayor-elect Bill Peduto’s plan to offer some city worker’s an early retirement faced a veto threat from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Peduto’s staff announced a second plan that would operate separate from the pension.

On Thursday, more details of the plan were released: Those changes could expand the number of eligible workers.

The revamped proposed plan would allow any non-union city worker whose combined age and years of service equal seventy to be eligible for the early retirement incentive. But, the Peduto transition team is considering removing the minimum age and year of service requirements.

“You could be 68 and work here for two years or you could be 48 and worked here for 22 years,” said Peduto Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin. “That would be 176 total eligible employees.”

That is 40 more employees than the original plan. Acklin pointed out, however, the new total of eligible employees is not going to replace the original. It only gives council members another option to consider.

The new plan would call for a larger initial investment by the city, though the estimated savings would also increase. The estimated initial cost for 136 employees would be around $1.8 million and see a five-year savings of $2.3 million. While the estimates for 170 employees show an initial cost of $2.8 million and a five-year savings of $3.6 million. These estimates are also based only on salaries, according to Acklin, and the city would also see $2.4 million in savings to benefit plans.

The ultimate goal of the early retirement incentive program is to “clean house,” but also give long-time city employees a choice.

“We want to do the right thing, we want to allow city workers to define their own future,” Acklin said. “This is a voluntary plan. It’s been done all over the country. We looked at Los Angeles, Peoria, Kalamazoo. I’ve gone through all those plans. We think we’re now at a point where we have something to give people who’ve worked here for decades.”