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Pittsburgh workers to retire early after accepting city offer

Bob Bauder
| Thursday, March 13, 2014, 11:51 p.m.
Carol Veitch of Brookline wipes away a tear while listening to members of Pittsburgh City Council say their goodbyes to a group of non-union workers who were offered early retirement by Mayor Bill Peduto at the City County Building, Thursday. Veitch, who worked in the city's finance office for 38 years, was among the 176 retirees.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Carol Veitch of Brookline wipes away a tear while listening to members of Pittsburgh City Council say their goodbyes to a group of non-union workers who were offered early retirement by Mayor Bill Peduto at the City County Building, Thursday. Veitch, who worked in the city's finance office for 38 years, was among the 176 retirees.
Cindy Southworth, of Knoxville, center, says goodbye to Dana Robinson of Manchester and who works in the Pittsburgh's Innovation and Performance department after a goodbye party for a group of non-union workers who were offered early retirement by Mayor Bill Peduto at the City County Building, Thursday. Southworth, who worked in the city's finance office for 17 years, was among the 176 retirees.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Cindy Southworth, of Knoxville, center, says goodbye to Dana Robinson of Manchester and who works in the Pittsburgh's Innovation and Performance department after a goodbye party for a group of non-union workers who were offered early retirement by Mayor Bill Peduto at the City County Building, Thursday. Southworth, who worked in the city's finance office for 17 years, was among the 176 retirees.
Linda Johnson Wasler of Highland Park says goodbye to Mayor Bill Peduto during a goodbye party for a group of non-union workers who were offered early retirement by Peduto at the City County Building, Thursday. Johnson Wasler, who worked in the city clerks office for 35 years, was among the 176 retirees.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Linda Johnson Wasler of Highland Park says goodbye to Mayor Bill Peduto during a goodbye party for a group of non-union workers who were offered early retirement by Peduto at the City County Building, Thursday. Johnson Wasler, who worked in the city clerks office for 35 years, was among the 176 retirees.

Carol Veitch was looking to make some quick money between school semesters when she took a temporary job in 1975 as a data entry clerk in the city of Pittsburgh's fledgling computer department.

She's still on the job 38 years later, but won't be for long. Veitch, 60, of Brookline is among more than 60 people who have accepted an early retirement offer from Mayor Bill Peduto. Her last day is Friday.

“I came here on a break from nursing school and never went back,” said Veitch, who attended a reception on Thursday in City Hall for retiring workers. “I had no intention of leaving for another three or four years, but the offer was too good.”

Friday is the deadline for nonunion employees, whose age and years of service equal 70 or more, to sign up for the buyout. Employees who retire early will receive one year's salary plus their pension. Roughly 176 qualify, and the Peduto administration estimates that the plan will cost the city about $8.8 million if all take it.

Peduto attended the reception and wished the workers well.

“There's a lot of institutional knowledge walking out the door,” said Cindy Southworth, 64, of Knoxville, an internal auditor for the Finance Department.

Southworth, who has worked for the city for 17 years, said to her knowledge she is one of the least veteran employees taking the offer.

Others had more than 44 years with the city.

Jane Conner, 60, of Banksville, supervisor of records management in the Finance Department, said she was planning to retire next year with 33 years of service before accepting Peduto's offer.

“This opportunity was open and it was too good to pass up,” she said.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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