County Executive Robert R. Neall's early-retirement incentive package, designed to save up to $3 million, makes its way to the County Council tonight.
By sweetening pension benefits for 400 county workers eligible to retire, Neall hopes to encourage 100 retirements. However, some council members, union leaders and other officials suspect the county could lose more workers than that.
Employees, forced to give back 3 percent of their pay this year, are being asked to forgo raises for a second straight year. Union leaders say morale is at an all-time low, and many workers eligible to retire probably will do so if the council approves the enhanced pension deal.
The plan would affect employees at least 50 years old and with 20 years of service, except for fire and police workers. Firefighters and police officers need 20 years of service only.
The program calls for increasing the pension package by one additional month of benefit credit for each year of service. Employees would be able tochoose whether they want the money in a lump sum, in an annuity to be paid annually until age 62, or as a bonus added to their pension checks for the rest of their lives.
Under the plan, a 60-year employee with 30 years of service earning $45,000 would get an annual pension of $29,250 instead of $27,000. Or, he could take the $2,240 annualincrease in a one-time payment of $24,750, or an annuity of $13,500 for two years until age 62.
If the county loses 100 workers as expected, it plans to eliminate half of those jobs, saving between $2 million and $3 million a year for the next five years.
Employees would have to sign up by Aug. 31. School workers, who have their own pension system, are excluded.
The early-retirement plan bill will be introduced to the council tonight. A public hearing on the plan will be held in May.
Also on tonight's agenda:
* A hearing and probable vote on a last-minute transfer of $184,700 to the Sheriff's Department. Sheriff Robert R. Pepersack overran his budget for the second straight year.
* Hearings on bills to provide $1.58 million for portable classrooms and releasing planning money for construction of anaddition to Broadneck High School.