Inter-Departmental Correspondence

County Manager’s Office



October 5, 2009


October 20, 2009







Honorable Board of Supervisors



David S. Boesch, County Manager



Voluntary Employee Separation Program



Adopt a resolution directing the County Manager to identify job classifications most crucial to budget control and stabilization; and authorizing the offer of a cash incentive to select employees in those job classifications to voluntarily separate from County service, in accordance with the criteria and terms contained in the attached resolution.



The County continues to experience the combined impact from the national economic downturn and the State’s significant reduction in support to local governments. While the FY 2009-2010 budget includes fiscal control measures, additional measures should be considered to situate San Mateo County in the most advantageous position to address this fiscal crisis.

One measure successfully employed elsewhere is a program in which employees in classifications facing probable lay-off were offered a cash payment to end their employment. These programs increase voluntary employee attrition, reduce long-term salary expenditures, and minimize involuntary employee separation through lay-offs.

San Mateo County recognizes the potential effectiveness of such a program, so long as the cost justifies the ongoing benefit to the County. Careful consideration of budget dynamics resulted in the conclusion that, to be successful, any such program must provide a swift and flexible means to offer a voluntary separation to employees in any specific job classifications that may be identified in the remaining months of FY 2009-2010 as crucial to the County’s success in controlling its on-going structural deficit.



This program is structured to meet short timelines and necessary flexibility by authorizing and directing the County Manager to determine which job classifications are crucial to controlling the County’s ongoing structural deficit and to offer this program to employees

in those classifications during the time period or periods within FY 2009-2010 as he deems most advantageous to the County’s interest. The County Manager shall proceed in accordance with the following criteria, which are also set forth in the attached resolution:

    1. Selected job classifications must be impacted by planned budget reductions.

    2. The County Manager shall be authorized to implement this program throughout FY 2009-2010.

    3. Payments to individual employees shall be limited to $15,000 for current full-time employees who have been continuously employed by the County for the equivalent of at least five years (10,400 hours), and $20,000 for current full-time employees who have been continuously employed by the County for the equivalent of at least ten years (20,800 hours).

    4. The County will pay the first 6 months of the employer’s share of health care premiums (in addition to any health premium credits to which the employee may already be entitled).

    5. To be eligible to apply, an employee in any selected job classification must satisfy all of the following requirements:

    a. Be in the status of a full-time regular employee (i.e., extra help, provisional, and unclassified employees are not eligible) in the designated classification;

    b. Have been employed by the County continuously for the equivalent of at least five years (10,400 hours);

    c. Have not submitted notice of resignation or applied for retirement on or before the date the program is announced for his/her particular job classification.

    6. The County Manager shall communicate additional guidelines as necessary.

    7. Employees who are selected will be barred from working for the County in any capacity for twenty-four months, including as a regular employee, extra help, working retiree, independent contractor, consultant, or any other similar relationship such directly providing services to the County as an employee for a contractor or consultant doing business with the County.

County Counsel has reviewed and approved the Resolution and Agreement as to form.

Approval of this Voluntary Employment Separation Program contributes to Shared Vision 2025 of a Prosperous Community by helping to reduce the structural budget deficit.



Payments made to employees will result in the elimination of positions from the budget for on-going savings estimated at approximately $100,000 per position per budget year. By way of example, each eliminated position would have a one-time VESP cost of approximately $25,000 (including benefits) but would save the County an average of $175,000 over two years.