Board approves early retirement deals

NAUGATUCK — The borough hopes to save some money by enticing some employees to retire early.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved separate memorandums of agreement May 6 with the unions the represent public works employees and supervisors.

According to a tentative agreement with Local 1303-12 of Council 4, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents public works employees, up to seven employees can take the option of early retirement. If more than seven employees want to retire, the option will go to the seven with the most seniority.

If seven employees take the option then four have to retire on or before June 27, according to the agreement. If six or fewer employees take early retirement, three must retire on or before June 27. The remaining workers must retire on or before Sept. 26.

To be entitled for the option employees must have at least 10 years of service with the department by May 1, and their age plus years of service must add up to a minimum of 70. This means an employee who is 50 years old with 20 years of service would be eligible for early retirement.

Eligible employees who have at least 10 years of service will receive five additional years of service added to their pension calculation. An employee’s years of service may not exceed 35 years in total with the incentive benefit, according to the agreement.

An employee with more than 35 years of service, not including the service benefit, will receive a one time stipend of $5,000 for each year above 35.

All employees who choose to retire will receive full pension credit for all unused accrued sick days.

The agreement still requires ratification by the union.

The board approved the agreement 8 to 1, with Burgess Laurie Taf Jackson voting against it.

Jackson said she voted against the agreement due to concerns about the future of public works employees.

The agreement comes as part of Naugatuck’s move to privatize the trash and recycling collection throughout the borough. The board awarded contracts at the May 6 meeting to two private companies to collect residential and municipal trash and recycling.

The borough is seeking to cut public works positions through attrition. No employees would be laid off through 2015, according to the agreement.

A separate agreement with the Borough of Naugatuck Supervisors Chapter 90, C.S.E.A./SEIU Local 2001, was also approved last week by a vote of 7 to 2. Burgesses  Patrick Scully and Catherine Ernsky voted against the agreement.

Under the agreement, Naugatuck Visiting Nurses Association’s Director Teresa Stieber and Supervisor of Clinical Services Debra Adams will be offered severance packages.

Borough officials are seeking to cut ties by Sept. 30 with the VNA, which is currently a Naugatuck department, and move the service to a private entity.

According to the agreement VNA employees who have been with the association up to 10 years will receive a week of severance pay for every two years worked. For any year over 10 years worked an employee will receive one week of severance pay per year.

The agreement also has payment stipulations for any VNA employee who stays on with the borough between May 1 and Sept. 30. Employees who are requested to stay on could receive up to $750 above their regular pay.

The agreement with the supervisors union also opens the door for three borough supervisors to retire early.

The agreement waives the retirement age restriction for Naugatuck Youth and Family Services Acting Director Christina Gamble and Town Planner and Wetlands Enforcement Officer Keith Rosenfeld to be eligible for early retirement.

Naugatuck Youth and Family Services, which is also a borough department currently, is transitioning to a nonprofit organization that will focus on youth services.

The agreement also waives the age requirement for Zoning Enforcement Officer Steven Macary to receive normal retirement benefits.

Mayor Robert Mezzo said the borough is hoping to see a savings if both Macary and Rosenfeld retire by filling the positions with one person.

“It is expected, given those two retirements, we may be able to replace them with one new employee who will combine the job duties for the foreseeable future and achieve a savings in this coming year’s budget,” Mezzo said.

According to the union’s contract, Rosenfeld’s salary is $89,328 and is set to rise above $91,000 in the next fiscal year. Macary currently earns $29.15 an hour, which will increase to $29.78 next fiscal year, according to the contract.

Assistant Tax Collector Louise Sheedy, who is president of the supervisors union, said everything to be complete by the end of this week. She did not to comment further since the contract was not signed.

According to Controller Robert Butler the financial impact of offering early retirements and severance packages is still being worked out.