Ormond Beach Fla--Mayor Balks on Early Retirement Plan
After Volusia County canceled a contract by where the City provided coverage in some County Stations the City was faced with layoffs of firefighters. In the interest of saving jobs, the city came up with a plan to retire older members early and keep the others jobs. Now the mayor is balking.
Daytona News Journal
Mayor cold on firefighter pensions
By THAD RUETER
Last updated: Jan 15, 07:46 PM
ORMOND BEACH -- As the City Commission gets ready to approve an early-retirement plan for firefighters, the mayor is saying the proposal is too generous.
The commission is tentatively scheduled to approve the plan at the Tuesday city commission meeting. The city would offer early retirement to 16 firefighters hired on Oct. 8, 1986 or earlier.
Volusia County last year canceled a contract under which Ormond Beach provided fire protection to unincorporated areas near the city. The county said the contract was too expensive.
Trying to prevent layoffs of younger, cheaper firefighters, the city came up with the early retirement plan.
The plan would increase those firefighters' pension benefit rate by 35 percent, according to city figures. That's too much, said Mayor Fred Costello.
"I could live with 10 percent," he said. "Thirty-five percent is above what it should be." He said workers in the corporate world do not earn such retirement benefits.
Costello predicted he would be the only member of the five-person commission to vote against the plan. Last October, Costello also opposed the early retirement plan put before the commission. Instead, he called for beefing up the Fire Department's workforce.
According to city estimates, the early retirement plan will result in $792,000 of general-fund salary savings over 5 years and a net cash flow of $206,000 over that same period.
Other commissioners said Costello would make a wrong decision should he cast a vote against the plan when it comes up again.
"He's really slapping our employees," said Commissioner Jeff Boyle. "These guys are retiring to get us out of a jam."
Commissioner Jim Privett said the plan wasn't too expensive. "The police and firefighters are the heroes of our community," he said.
But Costello said the plan didn't get proper discussion and debate. "There was no bargaining, and our commission accepted it," he said.
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