Councilman says city needs to cut back employee perks - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Councilman says city needs to cut back employee perks

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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis City Councilman Kemp Conrad says the city must find ways to save money by any means necessary during these trying financial times.

Conrad says the city needs to pull the reigns on personnel perks.

"Number one, so we can lower the tax burden for Memphis families and businesses. But also, so we can invest in important priorities in this community," he said.

With 70 percent of all city costs spent on personnel, Conrad began collecting data.

"I started to look at our vacation and sick leave policy, and compared it to a model corporate employer - which is First Horizon, the parent company of First Tennessee Bank," he said.

Conrad says future retirees should not be granted the same kind of pension as soon-to-retire CAO Keith McGee.

"He's not even 50 years old. Taxpayers forever are going to pay roughly $60,000 a year for an employee who's no longer even going to be working for the City of Memphis," he said. "Health care for life costs $25 million dollars a year. I think that we need to look at reforms that the private sector went to a long time ago."

According to Conrad, when a city employee hits year 25, paid vacation exceeds First Horizon's by five days. The city has 23 more sick days, as well as more bonus days and holidays.
Overall, Conrad says city employees get far more incentives than corporate counterparts.

"If we don't have such a generous policy - people actually working and not out - then possibly, we don't need as many employees," he said. "And that might be a way to reduce the cost of government."

Conrad wants the council to jump on the issue since union negotiations start early next year.
He has called for the city's human resources department to include private corporations in a study due out in August. The study compares Memphis' human resources policies to other cities, and will offer savings recommendations.

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