PITTSBURGH, PA - Mayor William Peduto’s Severance Incentive Program, or SIP, concluded Friday with 65 city employees taking advantage of the severance benefit. This represents a 51% participation rate by salary, almost exactly the 50% rate predicted by the Peduto administration when the program was announced in January.
“We have an incredible opportunity to bring changes to this government as a result of this program,” Mayor Peduto said. “These employees have been dedicated, hard working members of our team who will definitely be missed; but we must take this opportunity to diversify our workforce and to bring in new ways of thinking about the challenges this city faces.”
Employees were eligible for the program if they were non-union, non-uniform employees whose years of service and age equaled or exceeded 70 years. In total 180 employees were eligible for the program.
The Mayor has committed that the plan will achieve long term savings to taxpayers by eliminating at least one third of the salaries left vacant by participants, which will allow the plan to pay for itself in the first year. The total annual salaries of all 65 SIP participants was $3,885,550.74, so eliminating one third of the vacancy salaries would save the city $1,717,413.43 in salaries and benefits in 2014 alone, with a total savings over five years of $8,587.067.14. The Mayor expects to announce the specific vacant position reductions by April 15, 2014.
The program will cost the city a combined total of $3,626,168.33 in payouts over the next 24 months, which is less than the $4.4 million original estimate when the plan was first announced by Mayor Peduto in January. Under the plan, $1,442,811.38 will be payable in 2014, $1,746,685.56 will be payable in 2015, and $436,671.39 will be payable in 2016.
Though departing employees only represent approximately 2% of the city’s workforce, the administration has begun evaluating the vacated positions to ensure continuity in the functions of city government. Positions deemed to be of high importance to city operations will be filled with acting appointments for the time being. However, department directors will be asked to evaluate operations and suggest instances where positions can be eliminated in favor of more efficient operations.
“We aren’t just going to fill the same positions with new employees,” said Mayor Peduto. “We’re going to use this as an opportunity to reshape how our city departments work.”
Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Lestitian has been appointed as Acting Director of Finance to replace Scott Kunka effective today and the Mayor has commissioned a national search through Talent City for a replacement.
Maura Kennedy has been appointed as acting Chief of the Bureau of Building Inspection to replace John Jennings, effective today. Internal changes have been made to BBI to account for the retirement of positions in the bureau.
Deborah Walker has been appointed as Manager of the Office of Municipal Investigations to replace Kathy Kraus, effective last week.
James Genco has been appointed supervisor of animal control effective today, temporarily replacing Gerald Akrie.
Other appointments and transitions will continue to be made in the coming weeks and months.
Monday, March 17, 2014
City of Pittsburgh
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