Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Early retirement offer for Hernando County workers gets few takers

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County officials hoped to ease the massive budget crunch by offering top-paid employees an early retirement package.

Apparently, the bait was not attractive enough.

By last week's deadline, only six people had filed paperwork to qualify for the program. And several of those filed applications only to preserve the chance to take the offer later, according to Cheryl Marsden, director of human resources.

When the offer was made last month, officials figured that 77 general employees and 39 Hernando County Fire Rescue workers met the qualifications to apply. The program was geared to employees who earn at least $50,000 and have worked for the county at least six years.

Average salaries of those qualified to take the offer were $67,695 for general workers and $61,207 for fire rescue employees.

County staff had anticipated that about 10 percent of the eligible employees would take advantage of the opportunity, which offered a week of pay for each year of completed service, up to a maximum of 18 weeks.

The low interest in the program disappointed County Administrator David Hamilton. He said this week that he hoped to trim $500,000 from the budget from the upper-salary positions.

Hamilton said that is still his goal, and that the early leave incentive was the first in a number of steps toward that end. He called it the "gentlest" of the actions but stopped short of saying whether layoffs will follow.

One of the stated goals for the program, according to a February memo to the County Commission, was "reduce the number of employees that may need to be involuntarily separated later.''

Concerned that it might get too many applicants, the County Commission even set a rule that, if only some could be accepted, they would be chosen by how early they filed their applications.

The county employees who did file applications were Hernando County Fire Rescue Chief Mike Nickerson, assistant county attorney Kent Weissinger, interim code enforcement director Mark Caskie, technology services director Garry Allen, budget management analyst Elaine Singer and chief planner Jerry Greif.

Marsden expected to formally notify those employees of their acceptance into the program this week. After that notice, they have 45 days to consider signing the "waiver and release'' document. They also have seven days after signing that to revoke it.

The final workday for those who opt for the plan would be no later than May 15.

The county is trying to trim spending in the current year to make up for a $3 million shortfall in revenues in the general fund alone. Another $10 million shortfall is anticipated for the next budget year.

Hamilton has said that county leaders are first tackling the general fund but that the remaining five separate county budget funds are also feeling the pinch.

The County Commission is expected to hear a general discussion of the budget during its regular meeting Tuesday.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Early retirement offer for Hernando County workers gets few takers 03/18/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 7:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash


    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle


    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators


    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.