Youngstown to pay $87,542 in severances to five former employees

By David Skolnick


The city’s board of control agreed to pay $87,542 in severance packages to five former employees who left through an early-retirement buyout incentive.

Thursday’s vote on the severances comes two weeks after the board approved $361,079 in severance payments to 20 other former workers who also took the buyout.

The money is for unused sick and vacation time, longevity pay and education bonuses, and is given to all workers after they leave the employment of the city.

The city paid about $460,000 last year in severance costs for those who retired early.

In all, 53 people took the buyout of two years of state Public Employees Retirement System time. The buyout cost the city about $2 million, split almost evenly between 2012 and this year.

The city will save about $4 million in annual salaries and benefits when the program is fully implemented in 2014. Because of the expenses for the buyouts, the severance packages, and rehiring four of the retirees for all or part of 2013, the city is saving about $2.4 million this year.

Also Thursday, the board agreed to give $15,960 to offset some of the $39,900 being spent for exterior improvements to a downtown bakery and luncheonette expected to open early this year.

About $250,000 is being invested to open Sugar Plum at 107 W. Federal St., the former location of Two Guys Clothing, which moved in July 2011 to 20 Federal Place, a city-owned building at 20 W. Federal St., after its landlord declined to renew its lease.

Iron and String Life Enhancement Inc., which owns the 107 W. Federal St. building, is making the investment to open Sugar Plum. The exterior work includes eliminating the front of the former clothing store and installing new glass and masonry, planters, lighting, signs and a security gate.

ISLE provides job skills, daily living skills and recreational activities for mentally and physically impaired people. It operates the Purple Cat workshop and Touch the Moon Candy Saloon in downtown Youngstown as well as the Pearl Street Mission on the city’s East Side and a 52-acre farm in Coitsville.

Sugar Plum expects to hire about 20 to 25 adults with disabilities on a part-time basis and have five to 10 nonclients work there.

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