Hope Creek Employees Asked To Retire Early - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Hope Creek Employees Asked To Retire Early

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 Drastic measures for Hope Creek, the Rock Island County run nursing employees are being strongly encouraged to take early retirement in an effort to cut costs. Right now the nursing home loses about $10,000 a day because of the state funding shortfalls. 28 employees for the nursing home got letters asking them to retire early.  In exchange, the employees can add five years to their retirement age and get a higher pension.  

"It is a drastic measure, but it also is a necessary measure given our circumstances," Trudy Whittington, the administrator said.  

Whittington has worked for the nursing home for 16 years.  She says that's long enough to see it financially struggle to keep its doors open and she's hoping these cuts help.
"Really it should be no secret that the county was going to have to do something drastic to show that they were trying to take appropriate measures to turn things around here," Whittington said.  

She's one of the 28 people that got a letter in the mail telling them their position won't be in next year's budget and asking them to take early retirement.

"I probably would have worked another 12 years until I was 62," said Whittington.

Diana Heick got one too, but was planning to retire anyway.

"I'm planning to go first part of next year," said Diana Heick, an employee.  

She says she's going to take the early retirement option, but it's the employees that didn't get a notice in the mail that she's worried about.   

"They're all just upset and worried about it. They don't know if they'll have a job," said Heick. "They have to have food on the table. They have to pay their electricity bills like you and I.  How can they do that without a job?"

Both Heick and Whittington say the cuts came as a shock but seem to be understanding of why the county needs to do it. Rock Island County board member, Steve Meersman says it's the positions that pay more that won't be in next year's budget.  

"We're not cutting people with three or four years at this facility. These are people are that are being offered a retirement incentive because they have reached that portion of their career where they can.

Employees taking the early retirement must notify county officials by December 1. There is a referendum on the November ballot that would raise taxes to fund this facility.  If it passes, it would raise current property taxes in the county from point-one percent to a maximum of point two five percent.

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