Council discussed voluntary buyouts for city employees - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Council discussed voluntary buyouts for city employees

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis City Council members discussed an employee buyout plan Tuesday that could ultimate help the city balance its budget.  Under the voluntary proposal, $7 million would be up for grabs between 100 Memphis city employees.

The big question Memphis City Council members had Tuesday: what happens if people in some of the city's top jobs take the money, and leave the city with a very valuable yet very vacant position?

"If position is vacated, it's vacated," Memphis Chief Administrative Officer Keith McGee told council members.
"So if the director of some division left, you're saying that position can be vacated?" council member Jim Strickland asked.

"Could be, you could consolidate some services," council member Shea Flinn suggested.

 Strickland later proposed excluding directors, deputy directors and elected officials from taking the buyout.

"The buyout is supposed to eliminate positions, but we know we won't eliminate director, deputy director, or elected officials," Strickland said. "So why give them the opportunity to leave? We have to replace them and don't save money."

Wanda Halbert agreed.
"What would be the purpose in offering a buy out to a director or deputy director if we turn right around and hire a director or deputy director?" she asked.

Under terms of the buyout offers, an employee of 15 years or more would get four months of salary, plus $500 for every year of service.

For example, if an employee made $50,000 a year, the buyout would amount to about $24,000.

Council members made no decisions in committee Tuesday, opting to move the discussion to a meeting of the full council.

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