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Cincinnati Details Proposed Early Retirement Program For City Workers

Jay Hanselman

Cincinnati officials are proposing an early retirement program to help balance the city budget for the new fiscal year starting July 1.

The plan would grant eligible employees two additional years of membership service credit in the city's pension system, according to a city report

In most cases, workers can retire with 30 years of service at any age, or with a minimum of five years of service and at least age 60. 

For Cincinnati employees hired on January 1, 2010, or later, the rules are different.

They must have at least 30 years of service and be at least age 62; or at least five years of service and at least age 67.

The city says there are 499 employees eligible for the early retirement incentive program. Most of them are in bargaining units represented by CODE (Cincinnati Organized and Dedicated Employees) and AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees).

154 eligible employees are in the city's general fund, which is facing a $73.4 million deficit.

If City Council approves it, they'll have between July 1 and Aug. 31 to make their decisions. Those employees must then retire by the end of the year. The city said once signed by employees, the decisions are irrevocable.

Those who participate will also not be able work for the city in any capacity for at least five years unless the city manager were to grant a waiver.

The city said if all eligible employees participate it would reduce the city's payroll by about $49 million.  However, the employees are eligible for lump sum payouts for their accrued leave balances.  The city estimates that could be about $10 million.  The city project an overall budget savings of $26.8 million.

If only half participate in the program, that overall savings number drops to $8.4 million.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.