The Jackson County Commission discussed opting in to Tier 1 retirement at its work session Monday afternoon.

This has been a topic of discussion during meetings when the issue of employee turnover rate is brought up. The commission believes that opting into Tier 1 retirement will give employees more of an incentive to stay with the county.

Commission Chairman Tim Guffey said the county would be looking at a $29,302 cost per pay period if it decided to opt in.

District 2 Commissioner Jason Venable recommended the commission opt in because the county’s employee turnover rate is so high. District 1 Commissioner Danny Rich said the commission has to do something to try and retain its employees.

County Personnel Director Michele Willis said the county has to have everything turned in by Aug. 1 to opt in by the 2021 fiscal year. The deadline for the 2022 fiscal year is May 8, 2021. The commission seemed willing to send in the paperwork by the Aug. 1 deadline.

Willis said this would allow the county to give Tier 1 benefits to Tier 2 employees. The number the county was quoted is based on the number of Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees the county currently has.

She said the number could change based on the amount of Tier 1 employees that retire and the amount of Tier 2 employees the county hires. About 35% of the county’s employees are Tier 2. With Tier 2 retirement, Willis said employees have to contribute more, work longer and will draw less.

District 4 Commissioner Mike Sisk said it is going to be a benefit for the county’s employees.

“It’s definitely a plus for their retirement,” said Willis.

The Tier 1 contribution rate for the employer will go up .2%, and the Tier 2 contribution rate for the employer will go up .97%. The only drawback is that the employee contribution will also increase.

It will affect the employee’s paycheck. Willis said the average would be about $30 every paycheck. She doesn’t think employees will object to better benefits, but she said the only problem is that it will cost them a little more.

Employees will not be able to choose whether they want Tier 1 or Tier 2 retirement benefits.

Guffey thinks the commission has to opt in to Tier 1 retirement.

“We’re not able to give any raises, and this won’t put any more money in their pocket but it will give them better benefits,” said Guffey.

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