SAN ANTONIO – Less than 20% of Bexar County employees offered early retirement packages earlier this year have opted into the program, according to figures obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders Thursday.
Of the 722 eligible employees, 117 applied for the early retirement incentive program prior to the July 31 deadline, amounting to roughly 16%. Employees have until the end of August to formally retire.
The benefits package, which county officials hoped to utilize to cut personnel expenses during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, offered employees the added incentive of 480 hours of additional paid leave upon retirement from the county, a spokesperson confirmed last month.
Multiple county sources, however, have for weeks said employees were balking at the plan because they would be permanently ineligible to be rehired by the county in any capacity.
The spokesperson said via email the language was included to ensure employees were not taking advantage of the enhanced retirement benefits.
Officials have not said how much money the early retirements could save the county moving forward.
During a presentation given to county commissioners in June, however, officials said for every 100 employees who retire the county would save an average of $7.92 million annually if those positions were not filled.
Using those figures, 117 early retirements would save the county approximately $9.27 million a year.
The same presentation indicated the fiscal and operational impact of COVID-19 on the county’s budget could reach $90.2 million, when accounting for decreases in revenue streams and expenditures related to the pandemic.
County budget officials instituted a hiring freeze in April, limited discretionary spending and have suspended economic development incentives.
The county’s next fiscal year begins October 1.