For their benefit |

For their benefit

Carolyn Sackariason
Aspen Times Weekly

One of the perks of being a government employee is the benefits attached to the job.

The city of Aspen offers more than Pitkin County, but the latter organization has better options for retirement and does what it can to make up for what it can’t provide, like gift cards and a random day off, said Laura Laubhan, Pitkin County human resources manager.

“Those are the little things that make people feel valued,” she said.

Pitkin County’s pension plan is stronger than what the city of Aspen offers, said City Manager Steve Barwick.

City employees pay into a Social Security plan and the government pays between 5 and 7 percent into a retirement plan, depending on tenure.

An amount equal to 12.45 percent of an employee’s gross income is contributed to the Pitkin County Public Employees Retirement Plan. New county employees contribute to Social Security for the first six months and then Pitkin County contributes to the retirement plan, as well as alternative FICA insurance, which includes a life insurance policy equal to two times the employee’s annual salary, an accidental death and dismemberment policy, and a long-term disability policy.

“It makes them more competitive,” Barwick said. “You eventually max out Social Security.”

Pitkin County and the city of Aspen offer health care packages and pay for higher education, as well as advance loans for computers, homes and rent.

“Every day we are thinking of new things to attract people,” Laubhan said.

Pitkin County employees also get an annual fitness and wellness allotment of $879 for full-time employees; part-time people get $439.50. They also get free bus passes, as do city employees. Both organizations offer annual leave, as well as paid sick days, vacation time and time off to volunteer in the community. Free counseling also is offered by both organizations for employees and their families.

The city of Aspen offers optional cancer and accidental supplemental insurance, as well as disability and accidental death, and dismemberment.

Employees can get supplemental life insurance for themselves and their families. The city will match the employee’s contribution by one times the amount of their salary, up to $50,000.

The city also offers a wellness program that includes an on-site wellness nurse practitioner, nutritionist, an annual wellness fair and a 24-hour nurse advice line. The city also offers annual allotments of $960 toward a fitness program, as well as discounted golf, ski and Aspen Recreation Center passes.

Three bonus programs are available for city employees: ” the $20 “Lookin’ Good” reward program; the $150 “Over the Top Award;” the $500 “Outstanding Employee Bonus Award Program,” and the “Top of Range” bonus, which is a plan for employees at the maximum of their salary range. The city also offers up to $1,800 a year in the “Goals and Outcome Measures Bonus” for employees to achieve department goals.