Pittsburgh City Council give preliminary approval to retirement incentive

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Pittsburgh City Council this morning voted overwhelmingly to give preliminary approval to an early retirement program that would offer buyouts to a select number of city employees.

The early retirement proposal was introduced by Mayor Bill Peduto last year when he was still on council. It’s an important piece of the new mayor’s plans to hire his own staff and to restructure some departments.

Under the current version of the bill, non-union, non-uniformed employees with a combined age and years of service of 70 or more would be eligible to receive a payment to retire. The payment would be equal to 2.5 weeks of pay for every year of service, with a cap of a year’s pay.

The administration estimates there are 176 employees who meet the requirements.

The bill was amended today to give employees the option to be paid monthly over two years or to take a lump sum. If they take the latter option, they would only get 80 percent of the benefit.

Kevin Acklin, Mr. Peduto’s chief of staff, said the administration plans to eliminate about a third of the positions left vacant by employees who take the buyout so that there will be cost-savings over time. The administration estimated about half the eligible employees would take the buyout at a cost of about $4.4 million. They estimate there would be a cost-savings of about $1.6 million a year.

The bill passed 8-0, with Councilwoman Darlene Harris abstaining. It is up for a final vote next week.

Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee.

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