Green River Star -

By David Martin
Editor 

County OKs retirement program

 


The Sweetwater County Commissioners solidified details of a proposed voluntary separation program, an early retirement program, Tuesday afternoon.

The county started discussions regarding the program two weeks ago. However, information about the program was not available until the day of the meeting.

The initial program allowed certain employees near retirement age to take a payout amounting to 30 percent of their gross salary, with the decision to use that payout to accept a check, take the payout in insurance coverage, or a combination of the two. Employees whose positions can be eliminated and workload distributed amongst a department are candidates for the program, as their positions could be eliminated and savings realized in the reduced head count. The issue was tabled during the commissioners’ previous discussion.

The county has initiated similar programs in the past, but as part of a larger proactive plan to reduce positions in preparation for reduced tax revenues. This year, the commissioners are discussing the program while staring at an approximately 20 percent reduction in revenues for the upcoming budget, which will be finalized Thursday evening.

The county’s human resources director, Gary McLean, said employees would have to decide by July 22 if they would take the buyout, with their final day of employment being July 31.

“I strongly support this. I think it will help us,” Commissioner Wally Johnson said.

Johnson said the program doesn’t preclude a reduction in the county’s workforce and the option is always on the table.

“This is a necessity,” Commissioner John Kolb said. “This is something we have to do.”

The commissioners approved the program in a unanimous vote.

 

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