Mayor Asks Council to Approve Buyout Plan

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean wants to create a voluntary buyout program for Metro workers.

Under the plan, employees who are eligible to retire would get the usual benefits, plus $700 for each year of service, if they make the choice to step down before mid-January. That deadline is extended until June for departments that deal with public safety, like Police and Fire.

Before it can go into effect, the Mayor’s plan must be approved by Metro Council and the Civil Service Commission.

A press release from the Mayor’s office included the following bullet points:

-The incentive program will help departments reorganize and streamline operations.

-In the short-term, the program will be cost neutral to the Metro Government. The cost of incentive payments will be recovered as some positions are abolished and others are funded at a lower level. Additional savings will occur over time as departments operate with fewer and less senior-level employees, bringing long-term benefits to Metro Government.

-The program is timed to coordinate with the Fiscal Year 2014 budget process.

-Employees can apply for the incentive program if they are eligible for an early or normal service pension.

– Most Metro employees qualify for normal retirement at age 60, as long as they have at least 25 years of credited service with Metro. They also qualify for normal retirement at age 65 with at least five years of credited service.

-Many Police and Fire employees qualify for normal retirement at age 53, as long as they have a minimum of 22 years of credited service with Metro.

-Employees can also qualify for the incentive program through early, reduced retirement.

-Employees retiring through the program should sign up between Nov. 26 and Jan. 18. They must be off the Metro payroll by Feb. 28.

-Eligible employees will receive a retirement incentive of $700 for each year of credited service with Metro. A one-time payment will be made 30 days after leaving employment.

-About 1,590 Metro employees will be eligible to participate in the program.

-Employees who opt for the retirement incentive are not eligible to return to full-time employment with Metro.

-The plan includes a provision to defer some retirements until June 30 for Police, Fire and other services related to public welfare and safety.

-Similar incentive programs in Metro were offered in 1996 and in 2004. Some 440 employees participated in the 2004 incentive program. The total amount of the incentive payments was $6.3 million. The total amount of the incentive payments for the new program is estimated at $5 million to $7 million.

-Informational meetings for Metro employees will take place at the Sonny West Conference Center at the Fulton Campus at 8:30 a.m. on both Dec. 10 and Jan. 9.

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