By David Skolnick
By David Skolnick
The city’s board of control agreed to pay $361,079 in severance packages to 20 former employees who took an early-buyout incentive.
The city owes the money for unused sick and vacation time, longevity pay and education bonuses, and the board voted Thursday to authorize the payments. The city paid about $460,000 last year to 33 others who took the buyout.
Among the 20 receiving severance packages Thursday, the amounts ranged from $3,779.77 for Judith Moran, a 14-year city employee who retired as a secretary/bookkeeper in the health depart- ment making $35,750 in annual base salary, to $58,380.26 for Mike Kraynanski, a 35-year employee who retired as chief information officer with an annual base salary of $94,779.
The buyout of two years of state Public Employees Retirement System time for the 53 cost the city about $2 million, split almost evenly between 2012 and this year.
The city will save those former workers’ combined annual salary of $2.85 million with about $1.14 million more in benefits.
A few employees will be replaced, but beginning in 2014, the city will reduce its cost of employees’ salaries and benefits by nearly $4 million. The savings this year is about $2.4 million.
Of those early retirees, the city rehired four of them. One of the four, Finance Director David Bozanich, who earns $83,949 annually, will remain for another year.
Mayor Charles Sammarone, board of control chairman, said officials with V&M Star, which is investing $1.1 billion to expand its steel-piping plant, wants Bozanich to remain through at least the first three months of this year. Also, Sammarone said that with his decision not to run for mayor this year, it would be difficult to find someone qualified for finance director to take the post through the end of 2013 without job security. The next mayor will choose the finance director.
Kraynanski and Jeanne Rostan, a finance supervisor who worked for the city for 19 years and made $54,027 in annual base salary, will remain on staff during the first two months of the year to run the city’s financial computer system, Sammarone said.
Those who retire and are then rehired by the city are not entitled to receive the first two months of their retirement pay under state law.
Also, Thomas Sakmar, a demolition foreman with the street department who made $46,440 in base pay, will remain on the city’s payroll for at least the first two months of the year, Sammarone said.
City officials will make a decision in the next couple of weeks as to whether to ask Sakmar to stay with the city for the rest of the year or conduct a civil-service test to find a replacement, Sammarone said.
Meanwhile, Sammarone said Thursday that he wants to use as much of the $2,857,935 the city is receiving this year from V&M Star, which is leasing land for its expansion project, toward vacant residential demolition and neighborhood improvements.
The city is spending about $2.5 million this year on demolition, and expects that to be enough money to take down about 330 to 400 structures. Combined with some money saved from the early retirements and having the street department continue to take down vacant structures, about 500 dilapidated houses will be demolished this year, Sammarone said.
The V&M money would help bring the city a lot closer to the goal of demolishing 1,000 structures in 2013, he said.
On Thursday, the board of control approved contracts to have 48 vacant houses demolished.