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Dave Olson, Published June 28 2009

Clay County OKs early retirement, furlough plan

The Clay County Commission has approved a voluntary early retirement incentive program and a voluntary furlough program as part of ongoing cost containment moves.

Under the early retirement plan, individuals must have completed seven years of service to be eligible and anyone wishing to apply must make a request to the county human resources department by July 17.

Under one option, individuals may receive severance pay equal to 60 percent of their unused sick leave.

Under another option, individuals could receive 12 monthly payments of $713 each, which could be taken as a lump sum subject to taxes, or applied to health insurance premiums, or a combination of both.

The maximum someone can receive under that option is $8,556.

To be eligible, an early retirement must have a positive effect on the county budget.

If an early retirement is approved, there is no guarantee someone will be hired to fill the vacancy.

Under the voluntary furlough program, requests must be approved by department heads.

Furloughs cannot exceed eight hours in a month and must be taken in increments of no less than one hour at a time.

The program will run from July through December, but it may be extended into 2010 at the discretion of the county commission.

Only non-union employees are currently eligible for the furlough program.

Non-union employees could become eligible if their unions take steps to permit it, county officials said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555