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Parks chief latest 'retiree' on the job

Medford's parks and recreation director, who retired in July, was hired back to do his job three weeks later.

Greg Jones was hired back at &

36;39.40 an hour, his wage at retirement, minus the benefits. Meanwhile, he's collecting retirement.

That's collecting two forms of public funding, thanks to Public Employees Retirement System.

It not only is legitimate, but it's a good idea, according to city staff.

That's why the city has this arrangement with three other people.

We've had four in the last year, said Human Resources Director Doug Detling. The fire marshal, John Pierce, retired and is temporarily performing many of the duties until a new fire marshal is hired. Also, there are two retired police officers doing temporary photo enforcement for traffic, according to Detling.

The city saves money when we do this, said City Manager Mike Dyal. We don't pay benefits.

PERS retirees can work up to 1,039 hours in a year. PERS members are paid out of a member account accumulated through their years of employment with contributions from the member, employer and fund interest.

Once you are drawing your retirement, in effect, you can work half-time for a year, said Dyal. So that can come out to 20 hours a week for a year or 40 hours a week for six months, he said.

We're cheap labor because they don't pay any fringe benefits, said Jones. And we come already trained. So we hit the ground running.

Jones, who started working for the city of Medford in 1973, retired in July, and recreation superintendent Tom Hilton stepped in as acting director while the city began looking for a replacement.

Jones said Hilton is the one who suggested Jones be hired back.

I didn't think I'd be here this long, said Jones, adding that he stepped right back into his role of dealing with various project contracts, attending meetings and overseeing personnel.

He said the next time he retires, he's going to tend to a list of things around the house.

The PERS system, as it was, was a good system for some of us that are of retirement age, said Jones.

City officials have been interviewing applicants for the parks director position and are considering making an offer to an applicant.