Buyouts to cost Pittsburgh about $4.6M
Pittsburgh will shell out more than $700,000 for unused sick, vacation and personal time to 65 nonunion employees who accepted Mayor Bill Peduto's early retirement offer this year, according to city documents.
Documents obtained through a Right To Know Law request and from City Council show the city must pay $717,812 worth of paid time off to the employees, plus $280,554 in Social Security taxes to the federal government on the salaries.
That's in addition to the $3.6 million the employees will receive in salary and pension payments during two years for retiring early.
“It was a big waste of money,” said Controller Michael Lamb. “We ended up paying almost $5 million to people who were probably going to retire anyway over the next two years with no bonus.”
Peduto spokesman Tim McNulty disagreed, saying the administration stands by its assertion that Pittsburgh will realize $5.5 million in salary and benefits savings over five years by inducing longtime employees to retire and eliminating 30 percent of the vacant positions.
McNulty said the paid time off couldn't be avoided.
“These are not extra costs to the incentive package, because they would have been paid whenever the employees left the city anyway, even if the package didn't exist,” he said in an email.
He said the Personnel Department budgets money each year to cover such costs for retiring employees, and the $717,812 is “well within what they budgeted for 2014.”
Lamb, who has criticized the buyout from the beginning, questioned whether the administration will eliminate vacant positions as Peduto has promised. He also doubted whether the city will realize reported pension savings, saying the city is plowing about $5 million more next year into pension funds.
“So how is there a savings?” Lamb said. “They completely underestimated the costs and overestimated the savings.”
Peduto, who is attending a leadership conference in Denver, lobbied for the buyout program, saying it would streamline city government.
“The numbers are not only spelled out in a report the administration filed with council, but they are incorporated into the (Act 47) recovery plan filed last week, too,” McNulty said. “The controller will have plenty of opportunity to question the Act 47 experts if he likes.”
City Council members offered mixed reactions.
“The city doesn't have money to burn like that,” said Councilwoman Darlene Harris of Spring Hill.
Councilmen Dan Gilman of Shadyside and Corey O'Connor of Swisshelm Park said they weren't surprised by the numbers. They said the administration originally advised them that the retirements would cost about $5 million.
“These are always the costs to the city when employees retire,” Gilman said.
Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 2014 has been among deadliest for the world’s airline industry
- Fox Chapel native to take part in documenting sunken D-Day invasion craft
- Pittsburgh police officers reprimanded in Banksville restaurant robbery
- Residents, search panel refine profile of Pittsburgh police chief
- Pittsburgh police union: Video, photos support officer who made PrideFest arrest
- Kaufman Foundation awards research grants to schools, including Pitt, CMU
- Newsmaker: Charles H. “Chip” Dougherty Jr.
- 1 intruder killed, other shot and wounded in Carrick home invasion
- $24M water filter project at Aspinwall treatment plant nears kickoff
- Moon Area board reconfigures elementary buildings, votes again to close school and explore merging with Cornell
- United States proposes tougher rules for moving crude oil, ethanol by rail