Mayor Karl Dean today will file legislation authorizing a buyout program for Metro employees, according to an email sent from Metro’s Human Resources Department to Metro Council members.
“As designed, the program is similar to one adopted in 2004 and would provide eligible employees a retirement incentive equal to $700 for each year of credited service with the Metropolitan Government,” wrote Rita Roberts-Turner, director of Metro Human Resources. “In announcing this program, Mayor Dean acknowledged the pivotal role played by Metro's outstanding and dedicated workforce in the providing of services to our citizens. He believes that at this historic point in Metro's history — as we celebrate the 50th anniversary — a retirement incentive at this time will provide a unique opportunity for departments to restructure and be in a better position to serve our constituents in the years to come.”
The mayor’s office said in a release that, in the short term, the program will be “cost neutral” to the Metro government and that the cost of incentive payments “will be recovered as some positions are abolished due to efficiencies gained through reorganization.” Dean’s office estimated the total amount of the incentive payments for the new program would fall between $5 million and $7 million. The mayor framed the move as a chance for department heads to find savings.
“Nashville is fortunate to have an outstanding and dedicated workforce, including many employees who have worked for Metro a long time,” Dean said, in the release. “This incentive program gives our department heads additional flexibility to reassess personnel needs and look for savings. Just as major corporations use retirement incentive plans to improve their business, this program provides Metro a unique opportunity to better position our departments to serve Nashville residents in the years to come.”
The program would offer eligible Metro employees $700 for each year of service with the city. About 1,590 Metro employees would be eligible for the program, according the mayor’s office. They would have until Jan. 18 to accept the buyout and must leave their jobs by Feb. 28 if they do.
The mayor’s office said the plan includes a provision that would defer retirements until June 30 police officers, firemen and other Metro employees in areas related to public welfare and safety.