City of Memphis employee buyouts - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

City of Memphis employee buyouts

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis City administrators are proposing a voluntary buyout of 100 employees.

For the first time, they laid out details of the plan and it didn't go over well with some council members.

The plan calls for a one-time payment of about seven million dollars to buyout those hundred employees and would save the city about 6.5 million a year.

But one council member says the buyout would destroy these longtime employees.

Mayor Willie Herenton said, "We also developed a buyout incentive program."

You heard it first at Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton's state of the city address.

But Tuesday morning, the Mayor's CAO, Keith McGee, laid out the specifics of the plan to a City Council committee to ask for money to fund the buyout.

Memphis City Councilman Joe Brown said, "It's a buyout of hell."

Councilman Joe Brown was clearly against it.

Here's how the buyout would work.

An employee of 15 years or more would get four months of salary plus 500 dollars for every year of service.

They would also get up to six months of healthcare benefits and up to 5 months of accumulated and unused sick leave.

City employees in the areas of public safety are not eligible for the buyout.

So, if the employee made 50-thousand dollars a year, the buyout would amount to about 24-thousand dollars, but they'd have to pay taxes on it.

Brown said, "This is a detriment.  It's going to take them right out.  They can't survive with this."

Councilwoman Barbara Ware was also wary of the plan and asked McGee point blank if the city can really do without these hundred employees.

McGee said, "We think all our employees are assets to the City of Memphis."

Ware said, "That's not my question."

McGee said, "I answered it the best I could.  I'll try again."

Council members had so many questions they decided to take it down to the full chambers for further discussion.

McGee says the city must chip away at next year's 25 million dollar budget shortfall.

The council fast tracked the vote to Tuesday night's agenda to meet an April 1st deadline.

The employees would leave next June.

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