Friday, November 19, 2010

Brain drain at the courthouse

There’s something of a brain drain going on at the Media Courthouse.

Or you could just sum it up we did on yesterday’s front page: Exodus.

No, Charlton Heston is not leading workers out of the courthouse.

But make no mistake, there is a seismic shift going on amid county workers.

That’s because 250 of them, many department heads and other longtime employees, are taking the county up on their earlier retirement offer.

The lure is five years of paid medical benefits. Anybody who works in the private sector will tell you that is a great deal. I don’t blame any of them for taking it and running for the exit.

But there is a concern for the kind of experience and savvy workers that are being lost with all these senior workers heading for the doors.

After raising taxes more than 7 percent last year, County Council certainly didn’t want to be in the same position again this year. So instead they decided to toe the line on taxes and seek savings elsewhere. Hence the early retirement plan.

A look at some other suburbs confirms a troublesome sign of the time, revenues are down, expenses are up. That translates to tax hikes or cuts.

Montgomery County is looking at a 11 percent property tax hike. Or they just might slash 140 jobs. Chester County is looking at a $5 million deficit, and that is after whittling to the bone.

Town after town across the county has been struggling with the same sea of red ink.

Delco government will have to soldier on without some of its leaders. No one likes it, but even less like the alternative – tax hikes.

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