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202 employees take retirement incentives

LAWRENCEVILLE - More than 200 employees have accepted incentives to retire from Gwinnett County government.

Of the 316 county employees offered a pay-out in an attempt to shave 250 jobs from the county payroll, 202 people accepted by Monday's deadline.

The incentives, which included 20 percent bonuses on accrued vacation and sick time and a week's pay for every two years of service, will cost taxpayers $4.7 million, but will account for a savings of $55.2 million over the next three years.

"The loss of 250 employees in any community our size is significant," Chairman Charles Bannister said. "Unfortunately, this reduction of more than 4,400 combined years of service and institutional knowledge will not go unnoticed, but we will pull together as a team and do our best with what we have. ... I am confident our remaining employees will step up to the task and continue providing the best possible public service under the circumstances."

The retirements represent some of the county's highest profile and longest-serving staffers.

Deputy County Administrator Mike Comer, Assistant County Administrator Lisa Johnsa and Fire Chief Steve Rolader accepted the offer, which means they will leave the government in mid-September.

While County Administrator Jock Connell announced he would retire at the end of the year, he did not accept the incentive, and Police Chief Charles Walters said he would stay to steer his department through the upcoming challenge of losing many of the police lieutenants, majors and sergeants.

According to county officials, the retirements, which include about 33 people who will take a leave of absence until their official retirement date begins, are the first step in a reduction in the county work force.

"Mission-critical" positions will be filled, but the replacement may be at a lower pay scale, a press release said. Then, officials will consider lay-offs.

"When we analyzed our options for reducing staff, it became clear that by incentivizing employees who were eligible to retire, we could make a dramatic overall headcount reduction that would hopefully lessen the impact on other employees who may otherwise lose their jobs through a reduction in force," Human Resources Director Kenneth Poe said. "Legally we can't force someone to retire, so it made sense to provide incentives given the significant return on investment. The private sector often uses a similar tool when reducing staff."

While this incentive program was only offered to county employees who report to the county administrator's office, officials are working on similar programs to reduce costs in the offices of other elected officials, such as judges, the clerk of court, district attorney, sheriff and tax commissioner.

"Gwinnett County government has long been an efficient and effective organization," Connell said. "But economic realities forced us to examine our business model and make tough decisions about what services are no longer at the top of the priority list. In many instances, reducing or eliminating services necessitated departmental reorganizations and staffing reductions."

Others who took the incentive include Parks and Recreation Operations Director Sharon Plunkett, Deputy Finance Director Chuck Huckleberry, Deputy County Attorney Linda Wells, Fire Services Battalion Chief Ricky Hunnicutt, Fire Marshal Ed Knopick, Fire Operations Manager Warren Mendel, Fire Services Battalion Chief Carroll Payne, Fire Services District Commander Terry Pierce, Fire Services District Commander Michael Smith, Fire Services Battalion Chief Raymond Trott, Police Officer Maj. Howard Beers, Police Services Maj. Carl Moulder, who is director of the county's homeland security department, Deputy Warden Ed Walker and Deputy Warden Jeff Sligar. Warden David Peek, whose prison is slated to close by July 2011, did not accept the incentive.

SideBar: At a glance

The following county employees took a retirement incentive. They will leave their jobs Sept. 18.

Community Services

· Cecil Ash

· Gary Anne Brooks

· Lex Burbury

· Casey Chapin

· Diane Evans

· Vickie Ezell

· Jean Gable

· Eleanor Garbarino

· James Harrison

· Anita Howard

· Mark Hudson

· William Lunceford

· Larry Maddox

· Leon Miller

· Elizabeth Moore

· Nancy Mossman

· Alice Pitt

· Sharon Plunkett

· Susan Powell

· Jackie Queen

· Shirley Rockmore

· Joseph Rutledge

· Charles Sheffield

· Donald Slate

· Virginia Veach

· Patricia Vines

· William Warbington

· Kerry Waters

· Minnie Weeks

· Helen Wilborn

Correctional

Services

· John Glaccum

· Rodney Griffin

· Lisa Llewallyn

· Ralph Perez

· Mollie Rhinehart

· Fred Singletary

· Jeffrey Sligar

· Edward Walker

· Kenneth Washington

County

Administration

· Alice Bryant

· Michael Comer

· James Corn

· Lisa Johnsa

· Percy Scott

Financial Services

· Glenda Blackwell

· Barbara Bush

· Barbara Cagle

· Floyd Cliatt

· Wanda Clower

· Donne Ellis

· Michael Feagan

· Elizabeth Fielder

· David Gilmer

· Emma Hancock-Steele

· Barbara Hedrick

· Chuck Huckleberry

· Sheila McGaughey

· Marsha Morris

· Charlotte Needham

· Debra Parmer

· Reginald Phipps

· Betty Sammon

· John Walling

· Judy Walters

· Marilyn Wegener

· Melinda Wells

· David Whitlow

Fire Services

· Phillip Allison

· John Athens

· Kenneth Barton

· David Beaty

· Ricky Braley

· Mark Bruce

· Ralph Burnette

· Terry Chaffin

· George Childs

· Robert Cown

· Anthony Cown

· Michael Crowe

· Horace Davis

· Edwin Dixson

· Boyd Ervin

· Michael Ethridge

· Ronald Fields

· Bruce Herr

· Hollis Hewatt

· Ricky Hunnicutt

· James Hunter

· Gilbert Jones

· Peter Keane

· Donald Keneipp

· Edward Knopick

· Victor McCallum

· William McLendon

· Warren Mendel

· Donna Mitchell

· Brenda Ndiaye

· Donald Nettles

· Jeffrey Parrish

· Michael Patton

· Carroll Payne

· Terry Pierce

· James Ritchie

· Jimmy Rogers

· Steve Rolader

· Chester Roper

· Michael Smith

· Scott Sperling

· Jim Tedder

· Donny Thomas

· Raymond Trott

· Carol Uhlich

· Michele Weaver

· Faye Williams

· Philip Wood

Information Technology Services

· James Bardin

· James Brady

· Keith Cox

· Kenneth Edwards

· Ernie Hoffman

· Lynda Jordan

· Richard Lang

· Sheila Mitchell

· Brenda Oaks

· Ephraim Pressley

· Edmund Reikowsky

Law Department

· Lynna Davis

· Wanda Day

· Barbara Garceau

Planning and Development

· Dewey Everett

· Charles Hardin

· James Maloney

· Miriam Marks

· Daniel McAdams

· Dail Melton

· Robert Strickland

· Marvin Thomas

Police Services

· Janet Aboussleman

· Richard Baker

· Howard Beers

· Robert Betancourt

· Bartley Bradberry

· Phyllis Brown

· Donald Brown

· Amani Burrell

· Charles Cason

· David Cheek

· Molly Cochran

· Larry Davis

· Maureen Davison

· Roger DeWitt

· Anthony Ervin

· Janice Foster

· Richard Garner

· Bruce Geidner

· Gregory George

· Charles Grubbs

· Barbara Hardin

· Patrick Hart

· Michael Hinton

· Daniel Holmes

· Randall Huckabey

· Nancy Jenkins

· Thomas Johnson

· Linda Maddox

· Michael McKeithan

· Romana Moore

· Winton Morgan

· Carl Moulder

· Penelope Olson

· Gregory Osetkowski

· Gerard Patterson

· Walter Peppers

· Victor Pesaresi

· Joyce Preston

· Robert Stults

· Johnathan Taylor

· Sara Van-Valzah

· Charles Voltner

· Conda Ware

· James Wilson

· Richard Winderweedle

Support Services

· Mary Baughcum-Lewis

· Dale Bradford

· Charles Brightwell

· William Dowling

· Kevin Evans

· Irene Ledford

Transportation

· Elizabeth Ballauer

· John Bongart

· Donald Browning

· Timothy Gillespie

· Ellery Hogsed

· Mazen Joudeh

· Gary Koepke

· Raymond Lovins

· Deborah Maddox

· Richard Perkins

· Donald Simmons

· Debra Thomason

· Byron Townsend

· Sanford Watson