Today is the deadline for the last of the town unions employees to decide whether to accept Mayor Scott Jackson's proposed retirement incentive -- even though the Legislative Council hasn't approved the package yet.
For most of the unions, the deadline was Wednesday, but for one -- the Town Hall workers -- the deadline to notify the town of their intention to retire is today after they met Wednesday and approved the package.
In all, more than two dozen employees are expected to leave under the incentive, Jackson said Thursday.
"I would expect about 25 people will end up taking it, maybe up to 30," he said.
Some, but not all, of those positions will be filled, he said.
"We need to save $1.2 million," he said. "Some will probably have to be refilled at a lower level, but many of them will not."
The agreement allows retiring employees to take a lump sum payment for sick and vacation time or buy years of service to go towards their pension calculations. If more opt to buy years of service, the account allocated for the payments will likely have a remaining balance that will go toward the $1.2 million deficit, Jackson said.
"We may not spend all in that budget line and some of that can help," he said.
But the program still needs the approval of the council, which met in executive session to discuss it last Monday and will again this Monday.
"They wanted to take a little time to think about it," Jackson said. "I don't want to seem like I'm pressing one way or another or expecting them to vote one way or another."
As things look now, it doesn't appear that layoffs will be needed, Jackson said. But the bottom line is that $1.2 million hole needs to plugged, he said, and until the package is approved by the council and accepted by the employees, nothing can be said definitively.
"I don't think layoffs will be needed, but let me be clear, this is not yet passed by the Legislative Council," he said.
Were the council not approve the package, "we would have to come up with alternative methods to come up with that $1.2 million -- we would have to take action, you can't start the fiscal year with your budget in the hole."
In that case, "layoffs would have to become part of the matrix -- we don't buy pens and paper anymore, we buy people's labor and we couldn't pull $1.2 million out without impacting people."