Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today announced the terms of a new early retirement option for county employees age 55 and over who leave their county jobs no later than August 7, 2004. A resolution to approve the measure will be introduced to the County Board tonight (June 3) with a vote expected June 17.
“The early retirement option is a fiscally sound way to generate short-term and long-term savings for the County. It improves the county’s ability to control personnel costs while minimizing layoffs,” said Falk.
In an effort to create additional vacancies, Falk’s plan offers employees a 30% increase in the number of sick leave hours they have accumulated. Accumulated sick leave can be applied toward health insurance costs during retirement or can be taken as a retirement benefit.
The incentive has been approved by the unions representing organized county employees and is supported by management.
Since the window for considering the option is short, a memo is being sent to all county employees Friday, June 4, informing them of the opportunity. As soon as the resolution is adopted by the County Board, an update will be sent to employees with specific dates and further information. The Department of Administration will hold a retirement workshop on June 28.
While many viewed the 2004 budget cuts as extraordinary, Falk said she believes the next State budget will require the county to continue a cautious approach in 2005.
The county offered a retirement incentive as part of the 2003 budget. That incentive offered employees a 25% increase in the number of sick leave hours. This program was successful in creating 57 vacancies. Because this early retirement option is seeking to create vacancies in a brief window in order to generate more savings for the county and to allow the vacancies to be utilized in next year’s budgeting, the county was willing to offer a modest increase in the benefit itself.
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