Seven accept voluntary separation at Destin Fire

Matt Algarin

As part of a cost savings measure, a total of seven firefighters with the Destin Fire Control District have agreed to accept a voluntary buyout and terminate their employment.

“We’re very appreciative that these men took this opportunity, buyout,” Fire Chief Kevin Sasser told The Log. “This helps us balance the budget and it also helps them, as the other option was to lay people off and we didn’t want to do that.”

The voluntary separation incentive program allowed vested employees (seven years of service or more) to accept a base payment of $50,000, plus an additional $1,000 for each year they served over the first seven. The district will save approximately $573,000.

The tenure of those who accepted the program range from 7.41 years of service to 19.47 years. The following are the firefighters who have separated from the district in order of tenure and the total amount of money they received.

Eric Glenn: 19.47 years ($62,000); Adam Hoogendoorn: 16.46 years ($59,000); Barton Andrews: 12.57 years ($55,000); William Kennedy: 1257 years ($55,000); Michael Snider: 8.61 years ($50,000); Todd Harris: 7.41 years ($50,000); and Thomas McElyea: 7.41 years ($50,000).

With the money saved through the voluntary separation and prior staff reductions, Sasser told The Log the district will now be able to balance the budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The district was facing an increasingly difficult decision with a budget shortfall in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“We now know we can balance the budget and that’s a relief,” Sasser said. “This provides us with a little bit of breathing room.”

Initially the district was looking for five firefighters to take part of the program. Given that more took the separation, Sasser said the district is now looking to bring on two new firefighters, based on costs savings. The new firefighters would be paid a base salary of $37,079.47, plus they would be eligible for EMT and paramedic incentives.

For more information about the openings, stop by Station 9 at 848 Airport Road or visit www.destinfire.com.