Buckley OKs early retirement for longtime police officer

Buckley Police will lose a longtime officer a little early in the city's efforts to rein in the budget.

Buckley City Council voted Tuesday night to authorize a mutual separation agreement with Sgt. Tim Personius, who has been with the department more than 25 years.

As the city's elected officials finalize the 2013 budget, they have actively sought options to reduce costs. They have already implemented two: closures of the Buckley Jail and 911 Dispatch services.

A third option would see the police force lose one position.

Personius, originally set to retire Jan. 8, according to a comment by Chief James Arsanto at the city council meeting, volunteered to accept a buyout package and retire early.

The buyout consists of a lump sum payment of one year's salary at $73,644, 25 percent sick leave cash out, and cash outs of vacation and other compensatory time in accord with the city's personnel policy and collective bargaining agreement.

Though the buyout represents a sizable upfront expense, it shuts  down an outflow of city cash in the long term.

A separation date was not explicated on the contract handed out at the council meeting—though that date will precede the 2013 budget year—and Chief Jim Arsanto could not be reached for comment.

If within five years Personius returns to city employment at 60 hours a month or more, he will be required to pay back the pro rata remainder of the buyout package. The payback amount will be reduced by 1.67 percent of the original value each month, or 20 percent per year. If the buyout package totaled $100,000 and Personius returned to work 60 hours per month one year after leaving, he would be required to pay $80,000 back to the city.

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