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Friday, March 17, 2017

Council discusses rehiring retirees but delays action to special called meeting March 21 at 5 PM.

Crossville city council put off action on a policy on rehiring previous city retirees, including those who took an early retirement buyout some two years ago.

The matter will come back up again at a special called meeting set for Tuesday March 21 that will be followed by a work session on the city's capital improvement plan. The special called meeting is set for 5 PM and will be immediately followed by the work session.

Greg Wood wrote a memo of his take on the issue during his first week on the job, “It would be my recommendation as a rule to not allow these employees to return unless there were extraordinary circumstances necessitating their return. In those cases, if they received a retirement buyout, that buyout would have to be paid back over whatever period of time they had to serve to reach the 30 year threshold or five (5) years, whichever is greater. Any other retirement non-buyout incentives received would be deducted from incentives received upon the subsequent separation.

Additionally, their pay should be reduced by 5% to put them on equal footing with other employees who now have to pay in 5% to ICMA (International City/Co Management Association) when the retirees would not be paying that amount. This is the only way I can see to keep the employee from “double dipping” and maintaining some equity with employees now under ICMA. Employees of Police or Fire could have knowledge based testing waived, but would still need to pass the physical testing requirements of new hires.”

“This is a rather sticky wicket for 2 reasons,” said Wood at the start of the discussion during council's regular March meeting. The first thing is people who participated in the buyout program and addressing that issue and possible payback if they come back to work as the program was designed to reduce payroll and now they are coming back. The other issue is coming back into the TCRS (Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System) and the difference between 5 percent expense to current employees and the TCRS expense of 18 percent.

Wood added that these were policy questions for the council to address.

Council member J. H. Graham said he did not want to discriminate against those who took the buyout saying, “if they are good employees and the manager wants them back, I think we should give him a policy that will let him do that.” Graham suggested a formula that the city manager could work from such as an agreement that any buyout employees would agree to not have a cost of living increase for at least 3 years and they would not receive the usual 5 percent increase after 6 months for a period of 2 years.

Graham moved to use his suggestion and as calculations were thrown out Mayor James Mayberry said he would like to have the calculations on paper and the motion was withdrawn to be moved to March 21 at a special called meeting.

Other items on the work session include third reading on the updated public records ordinance along with second reading of an ordinance on excavation and cuts in public right of ways that disallows masonry structures taller then 6 inches on public right of way and second reading of the ordinance on telecommunications.   

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