|Eckel will be first to take advantage of Perrysburg's retire/rehire policy|
|Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Thursday, 26 July 2012 10:01|
PERRYSBURG - The city's new retire/rehire policy may be getting its first workout soon.
Public Services Director Jon Eckel, who had worked for the city for more than 37 years, has asked to take advantage of the policy and is the first employee to do so. The matter was discussed at council's Personnel Committee meeting Tuesday night.
The administrative policy, put into place in June, allows retirement-eligible employees to retire and then go through a process where they can be re-hired by the city in their previous position. That process, after vetting by the administration, involves a public hearing and the approval of council. When re-hired, though the employee is able to take advantage of their pension, they are nevertheless treated like a "new" employee, receiving entry-level pay, sick time, vacation time, and other benefits.
"I don't think I need to tell you how much I enjoy this job," Eckel said at the meeting.
"I plan on working at least another five years, either way." He said that the move works for him and his wife, and will save the city tens of thousands of dollars in salary and other payments. If approved, the retirement and rehiring would not take place until the fall.
The committee voted 2-1 to send the request on to council, and to hold a public hearing on the matter. While all committee members expressed appreciation for Eckel's service to the city, committee member Todd Grayson voted against the request. He emphasized that his decision was not because of Eckel's work, but because he was "philosophically opposed" to the double-dipping policy.
"I believe it's a good way for the city to keep good employees at a lower wage and get more work out of them," said Mayor Nelson Evans of the policy. "Also to save the pension system, because there's an advantage there."
"Jon's a good employee," he said. "He's kind of being the first one, I guess being the experiment, so to speak. I don't see a whole bunch of people taking advantage of that (policy), just in the fact that you lose a lot of vacation time, you have to start over. Jon's always been a really dedicated employee, and spends a lot of time here at work anyway. For him it's no major obstacle."
Though he admitted to having "mixed feelings about retiring and rehiring," Council President Joe Lawless noted Eckel's value as an employee to the city.
"If Jon wants to do it, I'm not opposes to it at all, and I'm sure he had a good reason."
Lawless noted he had not yet spoken with Eckel or the committee members regarding the move.
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