Pittsburgh City Council approves early retirement incentive

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Pittsburgh City Council voted to approve an early retirement incentive program today that was proposed by Mayor Bill Peduto to usher out some longtime city employees to make room for his own hires.

Under the program, there would be 176 non-uniform and non-union employees who would be eligible to receive a lump sum or monthly payment to retire early. To be eligible, employees need to have a combined age and years of service of 70 or more.

The payment would be 2.5 weeks of salary for every year of service. If employees take the lump sum, they’ll receive 80 percent of that amount. If they opt for the monthly payment, they’ll receive that amount paid out every month over two years.

The Peduto administration has pledged to eliminate about a third of the positions left vacant by departures of employees through the program and has calculated the city will save money over time with the program.

But there are upfront costs to the program. Another bill was introduced today to allocate $7.1 million from the city’s surplus to pay for the program and will be voted on in two weeks.

Last week, Mr. Peduto’s chief of staff, Kevin Acklin, said the program would cost about $4.4 million if about half the eligible employees take the buy outs.

The incentive package passed 8-0, with Councilwoman Darlene Harris abstaining. Ms. Harris said she was concerned about putting “the cart before the horse” by voting on a program without first allocating the money for it.

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

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