This past December, the Redwood County board made an offer to its employees.
That early retirement offer was just too hard to pass up for nine of the county’s employees who opted to call it a career.
According to Vicki Knobloch, Redwood County administrator, the deadline to sign up for the early retirement was this past Friday.
Those exercising the option include those from various departments including human services, the sheriff’s department, the county recorder’s office and the county highway department.
Among the retirees are current highway engineer Ernie Fiala, as well as Jeannette Mertens, Jan Fenske, LaDean Roxberg, Na-dine Marzolf, Richard Aakre, Char Burge-meister, Mike Hieb and Kevin Redding.
A few of the individuals opted to retire as of Jan. 31, with some waiting until Feb. 15 to call it quits.
The county board expressed its appreciation to each of the individuals who opted to retire for their service to the county.
“We are losing some very good people,”?said county board chair John Schueller. “We are going to miss these nine people.”
The county is going to have to address some major restructuring issues in specific departments over the next weeks, as some of the retirements leave big holes to fill.
Redwood County human services director Patrick Bruflat said three of the individuals retiring from human services all work in the same area – creating a less than ideal situation for his department.
The county personnel committee is going to meet with department heads to discuss how to address the issues they are going to face due to the early retirements.
Schueller said part of the reason the early retirement option be-came a discussion point for the board in the first place was due to the fact its unions would not settle on a new contract without a COLA increase.
Schueller said the unions certainly had the right to do that, but he also called the decision selfish and merely a short-term gain, adding he was disappointed.
The early retirement option is part of the bigger picture facing the county, as it deals with tighter budgets and the threat of even less funding from the state in 2010.
As it moves forward, the board is leaving its options open for the possibility of even further reductions if it is necessary to help keep the budget balanced for the county.