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Glendale encourages early retirement to help city avoid layoffs

May 15, 2012 |  1:01 pm

The city of Glendale is hoping to minimize layoffs needed to close a $15.4-million budget gap by encouraging early retirement.

Officials said that about 150 employees would need to retire by Sept. 1 and employees have until July 13 to take advantage of early retirement incentives, which are still being worked out.

At a special budget session at City Hall on Monday, City Manager Scott Ochoa said talks with city unions to discuss the situation were producing "good positive feedback."

A qualifying employee must have worked for the city for at least five years and be at least 50 years old. There are 388 employees who can apply under those terms, city spokesman Tom Lorenz told the Glendale News-Press.

The number of retirements needed to avoid layoffs would change depending on who retires. If more managers with higher salaries take the option, then the total number decreases, Ochoa said.

The retirement option will not be open to public safety personnel because that may lead to a "great exodus" of police officers — the most difficult position to recruit for and retain, Ochoa said.

During the first round of budget sessions earlier this month, officials said the worst-case scenario would cut 210 positions, or 11% of the municipal workforce. About 125 would come from departments tied to the General Fund, which pays for libraries, police and other public services. The other cuts would be under Glendale Water & Power.

The utility cuts would kick in only if the City Council did not approve an electricity rate hike and millions in bonds.

City officials were slated for another run of budget talks at City Hall Tuesday.


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