Recently Gannett reported the following – Interesting to see how many have decided to move on. Fortunately for Ankeny taxpayers – it will cut the budget as most of these positions do not need to be refilled and will allow for lower tax rates. It is time for the elected to make good on that promise!!!
14 Ankeny workers opt for retirement
Mayor says ‘lots of reorganization’ to follow after list of those taking incentives revealed
The city of Ankeny will lose 14 employees to early retirement by the end of 2013, and elected officials now have to decide which of those positions to rehire.
The Ankeny City Council unanimously approved in October to offer the early retirement incentive to employees 55 and older. The voluntary incentive program was offered to 36 eligible employees. Notifications of intent were due Dec. 14.
The plan was exactly the same as the one offered nearly four years ago. Employees who chose to retire will receive 70 percent of their base salary in a health savings account.
This was the largest group of people to volunteer for early retirement, Mayor Gary Lorenz said.
“It’s going to open it up for a lot of reorganization,” Lorenz said.
Department officials retiring are: James Spradling, city manager; Rex Mundt, fire chief; Debra Dyar, public relations officer; Thomas Verrips, golf course superintendent; and Jolee Belzung, director of municipal utilities. Other employees include Dorothy Spinler, Thomas Blair, Ronald Kirkpatrick, Deborah Schaffer, Patricia Kuhn, David Smith, Craig Phinney, Jolene Schwery and David Duval.
The proposal to bring back the early retirement program came from the newly formed budget efficiency committee. The goal of that group is to focus on stabilizing the city’s operating funds. Councilman Mark Holm serves on that committee and said the group will now closely examine the upcoming openings.
“Some of those positions are going to have to be refilled,” Holm said. “Other ones we’re going to take a long hard look at to see if margining of responsibilities can happen.”
Councilman Dave Kissinger supported the early retirement program, calling it a benefit to both the employees and the city. However, the absence of those workers will be noticed.
“We are losing some very, very qualified, excellent people,” Kissinger said. “Many of which are leaders in their department or the city itself, and that is very difficult to replace.”