Commission hopes retirement incentive will save money

Published 10:00 pm Saturday, November 8, 2008

It will be the end of the week before the Pike County Commission will know how much money their early retirement incentive will save.

Prior to budget planning this year, commissioners discussed offering an early retirement incentive to eligible employees of a $15,000 lump sum.

Through the plan, the commission could cut costs by either not replacing the employee’s position or replacing someone with a lower salary.

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At the last commission meeting, members approved to offer the retirement incentive, but they agreed to spice up the package, offering a 75 percent of salary and benefits sum to those who accept.

County Administrator Harry Sanders said now the incentive has been offered, but employees still have until Friday, Nov. 14 to accept the offer.

Sanders said he isn’t sure how much money this would save in the long run, since he doesn’t know how many employees would take the offer.

“The cost would be determined if they are replaced or not and how many would have to be replaced,” Sanders said. “It’s one of those things you can guess all day long but it’s only a guess.”

Sanders said commissioners have budgeted some for the retirement incentive, but adjustments may have to be made to cover all the costs.

The incentive, Sanders said, is just another way to increase money for the general fund budget.

“For any organization, the highest cost will be people related,” Sanders said. “It’s one way to try to reduce costs over time, and part of our job is to make the best use of the dollars we have.”

Sanders said before the program was approved, the incentive was discussed with department heads.

“As we went in through this thing, we looked for any objection from management, and there was no objection ever raised about it,” Sanders said. “As we developed our program it was based on employee meetings and meetings from department heads.”

Those eligible include county employees who have been working 25 years or more or those who are above 60 and have worked 10 years.

Once agreements are signed, Sanders said he should have more to present to the commission on Nov. 24.