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17 South Whitehall Employees Offered Early Retirements

Finance Director Linda Perry said she is taking the early retirement package in South Whitehall. Sixteen other employees are still considering the offer.

Seventeen people who are employed by South Whitehall have been offered early retirement packages, township Manager Jon Hammer confirmed Monday.

Among those, Finance Director Linda Perry has decided to take early retirement, ending a 41-year career with the township that began the day after she graduated from William Allen High School in Allentown.

"It's been a wonderful journey,"  Perry said Monday, adding that it's "very very emotional" to leave the job after so many years there.

Several of the township employees who were offered early retirements are still contemplating their decision, Hammer said. The employees have another month to voluntarily decide whether to accept the package.

Hammer did not disclose who had been offered early retirement, but he said the offers were made to employees in the public works, finance and economic development areas.

"This will be a personal choice for those who want to take it," Hammer said. "Some it may work for, and some it may not work for, and that's fine with whatever they choose."

No police officers were offered early retirement, and although police officers may be retiring this year, the force will remain at 37 officers. 

"It was a good opportunity," Perry said, in explaining her decision to take an early retirement. "I was ready to leave."

Still, she said, "It's difficult. I can't even believe today is my last day."

Perry had started with South Whitehall as a receptionist, when the township building was located on Main Street in Guthsville. Within six months, she was put in charge of water and sewer accounts. After about 10 years, she moved to accounts payable, then purchasing. In 1994, as the township and its government grew, she was named finance director.

She said she has formed many friendships with residents and business owners through her jobs with the township.

Perry said she had no immediate plans -- other than to organize her house and to train her 3-year-old Golden Retriever, Logan. "He's a totally out-of-control Golden Retriever," she said.

South Whitehall is offering the early retirements in an effort to reduce township staff in the face of a challenging economy. At a commissioners' meeting in February, Hammer said would help put South Whitehall on a path to financial stability. Salaries and benefits account for 79 percent of the township budget. 

The township has about 108 full-time employees. 

The township in more than two decades. Hammer  that the commissioners would need to consider raising real estate taxes or user fees in coming years because of the financial challenges.

Jeanne Boehrer April 04, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Great story on a wonderful woman! Congrats on your retirement. We love ya!
Ally April 04, 2012 at 06:32 PM
after 41 years i wonder how much Ms Perry was earning on yearly basis for being a finance director with a receptionist background
Jeanne April 05, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Really Ally, a little jealous? Advancements and schooling and learning over 41 years. She deserves everything she has worked for over a 41 year career, not just a job but devotion to a community she calls home.
Ginny Weaver April 05, 2012 at 10:55 PM
41 years is a very long time to devote yourself at any employment. Ms. Perry was a committed and loyal employee as I see it. Why make statements on her payscale, is this all you have to say to congratulate a fine example of service and community involvement? If this was a male employee would you treat him with this disrepect as well.. With that said Congratulations Linda Perry! You have earned this early retirement and so much more. I see wonderful opportunities for you in the future, whether it be employment, volunteering or rest and relaxation of any type. You are a very rare and special person. Keep up your zest for commitment and enjoyment in all that you do!

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