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Ordinance gives City of Hagerstown workers retirement incentive

July 13, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

HAGERSTOWN -- A limited number of employees of the City of Hagerstown would receive a $12,500 incentive if they retire by Jan. 1, 2011, under an ordinance introduced Tuesday by the Hagerstown City Council.

The Retirement Incentive Plan would allow as many as 35 employees who are eligible for full retirement to receive the financial incentive, according to city documents. Employees who previously announced retirement would not be eligible for the incentive.

A brief description of the program provided to the council described the incentive as a way for the city to "hire at entry level rate, eliminate the vacant position entirely" or to fill it with "an employee impacted due to a reduction in force."

The council is expected to vote on the ordinance July 27. If adopted, it would become effective Aug. 27.

City Human Resources Director Donna Frazier said 70 employees are eligible to retire and receive full retirement benefits by Jan. 1, 2011. Only those 70 employees are eligible for the incentive, she said.

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"This is not an early or forced retirement program," she said.

Of the 70 employees, those who are interested would have to apply in writing for the program between Sept. 1 and Oct. 1, she said.

The proposed Retirement Incentive Plan calls for selecting at random as many as 35 of the applicants on Oct. 8, Frazier said.

The city will take care to ensure that a single department does not lose all of its experienced staff through the program, she said.

Those who are selected will receive payment and sick leave according to their union contract or the city policy for non-union employees, according to city documents.

Frazier asked the city council to allow her to promote the program to employees starting this week. Informing employees will allow them to research retirement options and their finances to determine their interest in the program, she said.

Councilman Martin Brubaker questioned whether staff should promote the program before the city council approved it.

"We better be sure we at least have consensus if staff is going to start promoting it," he said.

While the city council will not vote on the program until later this month, the introduction passed unanimously Tuesday.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said the program will create additional vacancy savings, which will affect future city restructuring.

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