The paperwork has been completed for 21 employees to take the severance incentive, with five firefighters’ positions (one being Fire/Rescue Chief) to be filled by replacements. Of those taking the severance, two-thirds of them made under $40,000 a year. From the seven positions which have been held vacant and are now being eliminated, six of them are under $30,000 a year and one is $50,000, an electric lineman position. Of the seven employees whose jobs will be eliminated, all seven of them earn under $30,000 a year. Altogether, it will make a difference, both in the City’s financial health and services.
Those retiring with severance will receive a total of $117,000 in severance pay, but that will save the City $740,508.92 in salary and benefits. Eliminating the vacant and other seven positions will save the City $399,532.30, totaling together, $1,140,041.22. Wilson notes that savings to the budget from removing the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) will save another $381,000. Add that amount to the $1,140,041.22, and that makes $1,521,041.31.
To complete the ten percent reduction in personnel service called for by the City trustees/Council members, Wilson also cut the part-time expenses by ten percent for each department ($53,000). That, in addition to personnel benefits and overtime benefits, the grand total saved is the $1,875,041.31.
There may be more retirements since the open window for Special Retirement Option (SRO) is prior to August 1, was approved by council at the June 19 meeting. According to City Human Resources Director Matt Coppock, “Depending on the positions that become vacant and whether another position or a number of positions could absorb that work into their already busy day, will make a difference in whether a position will be replaced or not.” Coppock added, “We will have to continue to look at efficiencies and best practice standards to determine how it is best to handle the work of the position left vacant. That is, if anyone takes the SRO. In any case, while we continue to be under a hiring freeze; no positions will be replaced except those considered to be safety sensitive.”