About 115 Glendale city employees have applied to invoke an early retirement option aimed at saving City Hall millions of dollars this fiscal year.
When the City Council closed a $15.4-million budget shortfall at the end of June, more than half of the expected savings — $9 million — was to come from early retirements. The rest is tied to program reductions, including possible layoffs, and minimizing payments to liability and workers' compensation funds.
When the City Council approved the $167-million General Fund budget — which pays for libraries, police and other public services — about 110 employees were expected to take advantage of the early retirement option. At the time, officials forecast between 12 and 16 layoffs, but that number could reach up to 37.
Last year, the city faced an $18-million budget gap, which officials closed mostly by cutting programs and services. That approach left little to cut other than personnel this time around.
The deadline for eligible employees to apply for early retirement passed July 6, and officials are analyzing the paperwork. Final layoffs won't be announced until after all retirees officially leave the city at the end of August, said city spokesman Tom Lorenz.
Glendale employees who are at least 50 years old and have worked for the city for five years were eligible to apply for the option.
Officials must also still calculate the total financial impact of the savings since the early employees would be retiring at various salary levels. The more early retirees with high salaries means the city saves more, and vice versa.
Employees who want to retire and get the incentive must do so before Sept. 1.
In addition to regular retirement benefits, eligible employees have several incentive options, including getting one-twelfth of 5% of their final salary on a monthly basis. For example, a worker making $60,000 a year would get an extra $250 per month in lifetime benefits.
Retirees may keep their healthcare coverage, but they'd have to “foot the entire bill,” Lorenz said in an email.