WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Stepping Down To Save Money

Galesburg, IL – Nine Galesburg employees resigned under the city's "voluntary separation initiative." City manager Dane Bragg says that will save roughly $129,000.

The program was introduced to help the city combat its budget deficit. Galesburg paid those who stepped down one week's pay for every two years of service with a maximum of twelve week's pay.

Plus, Bragg says some of these employees were seasoned. Many will receive their "severance" pay on top of full pensions.

The annual cost to employ these nine employees is around $252,000. Bragg says the city will save $129,000 after subtracting $123,000 in incentive pay. He'd hoped at least 15 employees would take advantage of the offer.

The vacated positions will either remain empty, or be filled with an entry-level hire at a lower salary. Those planning to leave have either left already, or will do so by the end of the month.

Bragg says this measure puts a dent into the budget gap.

"We have $121,000 left to go," says Bragg. "We'll be implementing furlough days for our non-represented employees for 2010, which will generate about $61,000 in savings. So we're down to about $60,000 to close the gap."

The city will also reorganize the fire department. Bragg says that will entail increasing the number of captains and a decrease in shift strength from 15 to 14 firefighters per shift. The total size of the department will shrink from 50 to 49. The city says the slight reduction will not affect the department's daily minimum manpower of 11 personnel responding out of three stations.

In other areas, the neighborhood improvement office will move to the Galesburg Police Department, and the Airport/Cemetery division will be eliminated and incorporated into the Park Division.