Harry Stewart’s Golden Parachute

     It’s called the Bonus Incentive For Early Retirement Program, (BIFERP) and it’s purpose is to get the older, more expensive Fort Lauderdale City Employees to retire early and save the City some big bucks!

     Now that the City’s top earner, City Attorney Harry Stewart, is one of the employees retiring, the buy out plan that saves the City the big bucks will probably cost, well – some big bucks !


     Stewart’s been the City Attorney for about a dozen years. He was considered quite a coup for the City when hired in 2002, being one of the most knowledgable, and most experienced attorneys in Florida law, affecting cities.

      Insiders will tell you that Stewart has saved the City millions in lawsuits during his tenure, and cautioned politicians not to pass laws that would draw more. On the negative side, some neighborhood activists say he is anti-neighborhood, that he backs up his bosses (the Commission) regardless of the law.

     Anyhow, the way the Early Retirement Plan works, in order to talk the old timers to bail out early, they can get up to 32 months of time added to their pension calculations. About 400 employees were eligible for the program, and something like 130 opted in.

      I’ve e-mailed numerous people to find out the exact amount of the costs/savings in Stewart’s case, but haven’t had any luck getting the hard numbers, yet.

        Here’s how the bureaucratic description of the program clears it all up! 

            ……. Employees that terminate their employment under an ERP under this program and elect to begin receiving an immediate pension will have their retirement reduced  by the early retirement reduction factor, 5/12’s percent for each month preceding a Group 1 member NRD (up to a maximum of 60 months), and 1/2 for each additional month, the retirement preceding the Group II member NRD. On the other hand, employees that terminate their employ under an ERP under the program and elect to defer their monthly pension benefit until their NRD will not have a reduction factor applied against the monthly pension benefit.

Now that we’ve cleared that up ( Yikes!) let me take a guess what we’ll all be paying Stewart in his golden years !!  – 

                                  My Guess

     Stewart now makes somewhere around $300,000 a year to be the City’s top attorney…..

      He would have normally retired with a yearly pension of somewhere around $60,000 a year….

      When you add the buy-out, he’ll get somewhere around another $1200.00 per month ( about enough to gas up his fishing boat), or around $14,000 more per year.
      So instead of paying Stewart his current $300,000 salary, and have him stick around for more years, we’ll only be paying him $74,000 ( and he’ll be fishing!). Sounds like a good deal for everyone!

      Of course that’s before we hire the new, highly paid City Attorney!



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