The Medford City Council choked on an estimated $920,000 price tag to pay off retirees and other former employees compensated for vacation time over the past year.
"This is not sustainable," Councilor Chris Corcoran said. "This is not reflective of what happens in the private sector."
Corcoran said public employees already receive a generous benefits package, and these kind of hits to the budget could ultimately bankrupt municipalities.
Despite the reservations of Corcoran and the other council members, they voted to approve the payouts because they are bound by employee contract agreements.
The largest single payout will be to the Fire Department, which anticipates paying out $400,000, fueled by the recent retirement of former fire chief Dave Bierwiler and others.
The second largest payout will be $330,000 to the Police Department.
When an employee retirees, the city is required to pay for any vacation days accrued. Employees who work overtime also have the option to get paid or to receive time off. Employees can accrue a maximum 400 hours.
— Damian Mann