HAMMOND | Nine Hammond city employees opted into the voluntary retirement program that is offered every year to eligible city employees. The voluntary retirement program is a catalyst to reduce future city spending.
"This is our way to reduce size of the city workforce without having lay-offs," City Controller Bobby Lendi said.
None of the retiring employees will be replaced.
Current full-time city employees were eligible for the program if they met certain age and length of service requirements. The program carries a financial incentive of a $1,000 payment for each year participating employees worked for the city.
Lendi said the reduction of employees through the program has never negatively affected city services.
The nine retiring employees had previously worked a combined 153 years, making this year's city payout for the program $153,000.
However, Lendi said the city is saving in the long run. He said the average annual cost per full-time, long-term employee is about $50,000 with combined salary and benefits. If the nine employees had not entered the retirement program, the city would be paying out an estimated $450,000 for the year.
Lendi said the difference of $297,000 is a help to the city budget.
This year, there were 64 city employees eligible for the program. There has been a reported low participation in the past, but Lendi said the 15 percent entering the program is a good amount for this year.
The employees had to decide by July 1 whether they would opt into the program. Those who opt in are required to retire by the end of December.
"This has been a successful way for us in past years in reducing the city workforce size," Lendi said.