Marty Bilek, who resigned as chief deputy of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office to become Mayor Jean Stothert's chief of staff, will collect a county pension of more than $67,000 in addition to his $112,500 city salary.
Bilek's exact pension hasn't been calculated yet, but it will be buoyed by a $42,000 payout for unused vacation and compensated time banked in the early years of his career. Bilek, who is 61, was hired in 1973.
Without that payout, his annual pension would be $67,150, said Tim McNally, deputy director of Douglas County Human Resources.
Pensions in Douglas County are calculated by multiplying the employee's years of service by 2 percent, times an average of the five consecutive years in which he made his highest salary. The years of service multiplier is capped at 30 years, a milestone Bilek reached in 2004.
Employees can bank overtime hours to cash out later — at a higher pay rate — as compensated time, which can slightly inflate pension payments.
Bilek's final pension amount will be available Friday when his last paycheck is cut. The comp-time payout “is going to knock it up a little bit” but not much, McNally said.
The option to collect a retirement pension in addition to a salary has been criticized as “double-dipping” when done in the public sector.
But Bilek said the practice allows public agencies to hire competitively with private companies. Otherwise, he said, he couldn't have justified taking a pay cut.
“It wouldn't seem fair to me that you would expect a government employee to stop working after they retired just because they might be accused of double-dipping,” he said.
Sheriff's deputies in Douglas County can bank up to 480 hours of compensated time — three months, the most allowed under federal law, and higher than other local jurisdictions, according to a World-Herald review in 2010.
“But that's not what I was thinking about when I was 25 years old,” Bilek said.
Bilek, who made the equivalent of $56.36 an hour, is owed $42,335, according to Jerry Prazan, finance administrator for the Douglas County Clerk's Office. The breakdown:
» $27,053 for 480 hours of banked comp time;
» $15,048 for 267 hours of unused vacation;
» $234 for a prorated uniform allowance.
Meanwhile, the Douglas County Board on Tuesday approved Bilek's replacement, Capt. Tom Wheeler. Wheeler will make $117,239 — the same as Bilek's salary when he left and a bump from Wheeler's current salary of $112,442, which includes longevity pay, according to county payroll.
Sheriff Tim Dunning said Bilek's departure was a surprise, though the two had discussed his eventual retirement, and Wheeler was being trained for the job.
Bilek's $42,000 payout will come from the Sheriff's Office personnel budget. It's a relatively small amount so it won't force the office to postpone any major projects, Dunning said. His office usually restrains spending around April in case someone retires, he said.
“We're going to have to be more conservative on (purchases), but we'll still come in under budget,” he said.
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