Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett Tuesday announced a proposed, clear executive branch severance policy. The policy, which will be incorporated into the Knox County Employee Handbook, will be presented to the Knox County Commission during their regular work session Tuesday.
Under the severance policy, no individual employee who is terminated, laid-off or resigns from their employment may be offered severance compensation. No such policy existed previously in the employee handbook.
“I think this policy is clear and uncomplicated, and it is exactly what is needed to ensure that taxpayer money is being used appropriately,” Mayor Burchett said. “I appreciate the commission’s focus on this issue and their interest in having a clear and unambiguous severance policy.”
Although the policy does not require commission approval for inclusion in the handbook, Mayor Burchett encourages County Commission to adjust the base personnel policies to reflect this change.
According to the new severance policy, Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Programs are allowed but not required, “when fiscal constraints or revenue projections warrant a significant reduction in staff.” Such a program, though, would only be available at a time when it has been formally offered and announced to all eligible employees who are at or nearing retirement age.
“Although many business models can be applied to local government, we are not a private company spending its own money; our money belongs to the taxpayers, and it’s my job to make sure we are using that money efficiently to provide the services our citizens need,” Mayor Burchett said.