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Aug 25, 2010 11:03 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board adopts retirement measures

Aug 25, 2010 11:03 AM

After weeks of interviews with employees, and crunching the numbers of potential savings, the Southampton Town Board unanimously voted to adopt two state early retirement incentives at a meeting on Tuesday night.

The Town Board adopted two versions of the one-time-only state early retirement incentive program—Parts A and B. The incentive was made available to all municipalities by New York State on June 2. Part A is a targeted incentive and those eligible are at least 50 years of age with 10 years of service credit, or at least 55 years of age with five years of credit. Anyone retiring under Part A will get one additional month of service credit for each year worked, up to a maximum of three years of added credit. Employees eligible under Part B, those who are 55 with 25 years of service, would be able to retire without a reduction in their benefits.

Now, the town must set a timeline for those interested in taking advantage of the incentives, Deputy Town Supervisor Francis Zappone said. According to the state law, the window of opportunity cannot be fewer than 30 days or longer than 90 days. 
Part A cannot be offered before October 4, Part B not before 
October 1. The window must 
be closed no later than December 31, said Mr. Zappone.

Under the terms of the state incentive program, the town must be able to demonstrate a 50-percent savings in salaries over the next few years in order to enroll in it.

An analysis by Comptroller Tamara Wright and interviews by Management Services Administrator Richard Blowes identified at least 20 people who have expressed interest in retiring under the incentive, and if all of them follow through with it, the town could save about $2 million in the following year and a half, which includes costs of replacing employees, payouts and retirement system contributions, they said.

Several noteworthy town officials are among those who have indicated interest in early retirement, including Mr. Blowes, Sole Tax Assessor Edward Deyermond and Superintendent of Parks & Recreation Allyn F. Jackson. Mr. Blowes earns $117,300 a year, Mr. Deyermond earns $112,506 a year, and Mr. Jackson’s salary is currently $107,100 a year.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst thanked Mr. Zappone, Ms. Wright and Mr. Blowes for their work on the measure. She said the program is a good opportunity for those interested in retiring early. She also said it was a chance for town officials to reorganize government.

She also noted that Southampton Town is one of 511 municipalities, including other townships and school districts, that have signed on to the state’s measure.

Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi stressed that in order to demonstrate the 50-percent savings as required by law, the town cannot fill most of the positions that are vacated through the early retirements.

“One important thing to keep in mind is, the most reasonable savings comes from not filling many of these positions,” he said.

Ms. Throne-Holst said she felt comfortable that the town will demonstrate the required savings, and she noted that there are several options available for restructuring, including eliminating positions, filling some of the posts with lower salaried employees, or contracting out for services in place of filling the positions.

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Chris Nuzzi is right, of course. We have to wait to fill these positions until we have a reliable Republican Supervisor to take care of the good old boys and girls.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Aug 26, 10 11:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
Nasty, snarky response -- but true!!
By EastEndHomie (27), Southampton on Aug 26, 10 2:10 PM
Who will get Mr. Blowes job?
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Aug 26, 10 10:21 PM
I nominate the person that spells southampton with two h's
By Local dad (51), North Sea on Aug 28, 10 4:07 PM
LOL, good call! I can't believe I never noticed that!
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Aug 28, 10 4:47 PM