August 25, 2010 the City Council of Bainbridge Island approved buy outs to employees as method of relieving the city's budget troubles, The program offers lump-sum payments of up to $30k (based on seniority) who agree to quit their jobs. Quitting job avoids City having to pay for unemployment. Both unions agreed to allow members to participate. Employees can earn an addition $5k if they leave by the end of September. Employees with less than five years up to $12k, 5-10 years up to $19k, and 10 or more years up to $25k. City Manager Brenda Bauer estimates that the average employee costs $5k per month & if layed off unemployment payment period of 13 months cost the city $30k per employee. The quicker the city moves the employee out the door, the more money it will save. Approval of applications for this program are at the City's discretion allowing to retain emplo9yees vital to the city's core operations. Bainbridge voluntary separation program follows on the heels of similar programs adopted by the city of Poulbo. Kitsap County is also considering a similar program.
Believe such a voluntary separation program would provide additional relief to the City of Seattle budget probelms. With City of Seattle average employee pay 20-30% higher than Bainbridge Island should a lump-sum payment be increased to a max of $40-45k per employee would stillb e beneficial to the City.