Dodge County Board Approves Extension Of Post-Retirement Benefits

(Juneau) The Dodge County Board Tuesday night approved an extension to the benefits package for retired county employees. The policy, which was first implemented in 2006, pays out 80-percent of an employee’s accumulated sick leave into a post-employment health plan deposit account. The funds are restricted to the payment of insurance premiums. The plan caps the total accumulated sick leave an employee can earn at 960 hours and a retiree must meet the Wisconsin Retirement System eligibility guidelines in order to receive the annuity.

Several board members raised concerns over the policy, citing a lack of proper notification prior to last night’s vote as well as the financial impacts. Supervisor Jeff Schmitt says there was no report from the finance committee along with the resolution showing the annual budget impact of the program.

Dodge County Administrator Jim Mielke says in 2017 there were 22 employees who took advantage of the payout and that amount totaled $298-thousand dollars. He says while the number is large it is not as generous as other benefit packages. Mielke highlighted the Beaver Dam Unified School District which recently made sweeping changes to their retirement benefits package and noted that teachers with approximately 20 years of experience has a payout of $110-thousand dollars per employee. He says if the county plan, which was set to expire at the end of this year, was not extended many Dodge County employees who were nearing the end of their career would have retired.

Supervisor Dennis Schmidt says the policy is the right choice for the county and that the employees have earned their hours. Supervisor Jeff Berres made a motion to send the resolution back to committee for further research and discussion but it failed with six voting yes and 24 voting no. The policy approved Tuesday night extends the post-employment health plan through the year 2020.