County commission discuss retirement incentive

St. Joseph County’s commissioners appear ready to support what is likely to be the final early-retirement incentive they offer county employees.

During Wednesday’s executive committee meeting, county administrator Teresa Doehring clarified the offer is actually an enhanced-retirement incentive. She said the county has offered at least three such retirement incentives over the past three years.

The goal is to help the county’s financial standing by working out agreements with long-serving employees who tend to be toward the higher end of a pay scale.

Doehring said past benefits have included a $500 lump-sum payment per year of service, up to $10,500. In addition, the county contributed $6,000 annually toward a health-care-savings plan up to the age of 65. The past two incentives, however, saw the savings-plan contribution capped at $4,500 a year up to 65 years of age.

At Doehring’s suggestion, commissioners agreed to go back to that initial $6,000 contribution.

Commissioners are expected to make the offer official during a vote at Tuesday’s board meeting.

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