A Tri-City Herald article looks at the recent announcement of City Manager Crutchfield’s retirement. After more than 30 years serving the City of Pasco, Gary Crutchfield will retire this summer. In 1978, Crutchfield took his first position with the City as the community development director. Six years later, Crutchfield became City Manager, where he would remain for the next 30 years. As City Manager, Crutchfield has many accomplishments, as the city has grown and become more prosperous. Crutchfield has been saying he was planning to retire for years, but earlier this year he set an official date for his retirement. The city estimates it will take about five or six months to find a replacement for a successful city manager. Thankfully, Crutchfield and the city have a succession plan and a strong infrastructure in place, unlike when Crutchfield took over the job.
Many people look forward to retirement. Retirement is taking on a new meaning in our economy, but for the most part, it is still a time when a person is no longer expected to, or needs to, work. The current “retirement age” ranges from 65 to 67, depending on a person’s birth year. Crutchfield is retiring a month after his 65th birthday. Crutchfield, like many employees, was able to plan for his retirement, and both for the event and the time afterward. In preparation, employees pay into social security with each paycheck. Employees usually have the option to increase their retirement funds through their employment with 401(k)s and pensions.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires employers, who have established a retirement plan, to provide information on how the money is invested and how the funds are
doing. But employees are not the only ones who plan for retirement. Employers will occasionally need to take business steps to prepare for their employees retirement, such as preparing a succession plan.
If an employer knows an employee is planning to retire, and the employee’s position is vital to the continuance of the business, or even filling the employee’s position will be difficult, a succession planning is a good way to prepare for future events. Fortunately for Pasco, Crutchfield and the city have had years to plan for his retirement. Additionally, the article mentions that Crutchfield will be assisting in the search for his successor.
But succession planning involves more than advanced replacement searches. Succession plans frequently involve efforts to develop the
positions and personnel within a business or department. Employers will also likely identify employees with advancement potential and provide additional training. This creates a strong and engaged employee base, a strong infrastructure for the replacement to utilize and rely upon, and an internal pool of potentially suitable replacements. Thus while retirement and leadership transitions can be periods of upheaval and change, strong succession plans and employee development can make the process quicker and less disruptive.
If you have questions about your retirement benefits or handling an approaching retirement, an experienced HKM employment law attorney can help.