Mayor Chris Beutler has proposed lowering the City retirement match for new non-union City employees to 1.3 to 1, the same match in effect for new employees in three of the City's four civilian unions. Two ordinances are being introduced today to make the change effective April 1 for new Department Directors, Mayoral Aides and other employees who are not in a union because of the confidential nature of their work. The current employees in those positions receive either a 2-to-1 match or a match equal to about 12 percent of their salaries.
"Changing the retirement match for these employees to the same one given to newly hired union employees sends the right message — we are in this together and we must all play a role in keeping City Hall expenditures as low cost and efficient as possible," said Mayor Beutler. "I urge the City Council to pass the ordinances and bring us one step closer to having all City jobs covered by the lower retirement match."
Beutler said his administration was the first in 30 years to lower the 2-to-1 retirement match for City employees. As of last fall, new employees in three of the four civilian unions receive a 1.3-to-1 match, a savings of about 20 to 25 percent per employee over the 2-to-1 plan. The fourth civilian union has taken its case to the State Commission of Industrial Relations. When fully implemented, the change will cover about 800 of the 1,260 City positions outside of the Police and Fire departments.
The Mayor is unable to change his own salary and retirement benefits, which are set by the City Council in resolutions adopted by January of the year a Mayoral term ends. The City Council voted to raise the salary for the position of Mayor effective with a new Mayoral term in May. Beutler said if he is re-elected, he will ask the Finance Department to leave the amount of the increase out of his paycheck or he will donate the amount of the increase to the Lincoln Parks Foundation.
Last week, Beutler announced he was ordering a one-half percent reduction in the salaries of City Department Directors and Mayoral Aides for the 2011-2012 budget year. He said the salary cut and the retirement changes are not a reflection on current City employees.
"In the last four years, we have created the efficiencies that have led to the elimination of 120 jobs," he said. "Our crime rate is down 21 percent. We have a nationally ranked business climate and the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. During our last survey, our libraries and parks received approval ratings of over 90 percent. The leadership of our Directors, Mayoral Aides and other staff played an important role in these successes in moving the City forward."