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City considers plan encouraging employees to leave to save taxpayer dollars

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - With 150 City of Memphis jobs on the line, the city is considering a proposal to encourage employees to leave in order to save taxpayer dollars. But that is just one of several proposals being made to cut costs.

The proposed plan would save taxpayers $40.7 million over five years. But opponents say the plan does not add up.

"We're going to take it a step at a time. We're going to engage council and the employees every step of the way and we're going out to the streets," said Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little.

One of the options on the table is a retirement/separation incentive to cut 150 jobs, including fire and police.

Here is how the incentive would work:

Retirement-eligible employees could get $700 per year of service as an incentive to retire.

Some say many are already leaving as the city considers cuts to benefits.

"That means the city could have to come up with that money when they say they don't have any money," said Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams.

Under the proposed plan, for example, a public safety employee can retire after 10 years of service at age 55. That employee could get a lump sum of $7,000.

Employees who retire with 25 years of service, regardless of age, could get a lump sum of $17,500.

The plan is being proposed by the PFM Group. The city commissioned the financial firm to draw up a five-year strategy to cut costs.

PFM also suggests the city could offer the same $700 per year of service incentive to employees who are not eligible to retire.

The city council will decide if this plan sees the light of day. It previously rejected a buyout. However, Chief Little says if the city has to reduce staff, it will explore all options.

To read more about the proposal to reduce workforce, click here: http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wmctv/ka-extra.pdf

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