KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knox County is offering a number of its longtime employees early retirement buyouts as it seeks to reduce its payroll by 25 to 50 positions.
Around 90 employees with 15 years or more of service are eligible to apply for the buyout, according to mayor’s office spokesperson Michael Grider. Employees of all offices under Mayor Tim Burchett are eligible to apply, as are employees of fee offices that are choosing to participate and Knox County Sheriff’s Office employees. School system employees may not apply.
Applications must be approved as a position that can be removed from a department and employees must apply by March 3. Those who are approved will receive three months’ salary, a service payment of $300 for each full year of county service, a $3,000 payment to help with medical coverage transition, payment for six months of the health insurance premium currently being paid on the employee’s behalf if that employee is eligible for COBRA and decides to continue in the county’s health play, a payment of $7,150 to help with medical care transition if the employee is eligible for Medicare and not COBRA, payment of accrued unused vacation and payment of accrued unused sick pay if retiring.
Employees who take the buyout may not be re-employed by the county for three years.
This is the first time the county has done a voluntary staff reduction of this type, but officials say they are using the state as a model, which has done it a few times.