May 27—With nearly 80 years of experience planning on retiring, Davison County honored its outgoing employees on Tuesday with a lunch event in the newly renovated meeting rooms in the county's Courthouse basement.
In each case, the employees recognized Thursday do some of the unsung jobs within the county, fixing equipment and machinery, addressing building equipment or managing weed control in county road ditches.
Those recognized Thursday included:
Roger Collins, retiring June 11, after nearly 13 years of service in the county's maintenance department.
John Geidel, retiring June 4, after 25 years of service in county highway department.
Greg Geppert, retiring June 4, after six years of service as county weed control supervisor.
Mark Ruml, retiring June 11, after nearly 14 years of service in the county's maintenance department.
Among the most notable of those departures is Ruml, who has worked as the county's physical plant manager and oversees the county's buildings and grounds. Joel Rang, who has been working in maintenance for the county for numerous years, has been selected as Ruml's replacement as the county's physical plant manager.
Also honored with a plaque was former Sheriff Steve Brink, who retired April 30 from the sheriff post.
Brink, who was not in attendance Thursday but had a retirement sendoff last month, worked for Davison County for 24 years.
Steve Harr has since been appointed as acting sheriff to oversee county law enforcement. The Davison County Commission recently voted to make Harr's salary $75,000 annually while he holds the interim role.
State system changes spur more retirements
It has been reported there is an uptick in public employee retirements for those in the South Dakota Retirement System, in part due to a change that will go into effect on July 1.
Changes made in recent years have altered the rules for SDRS's Final Average Compensation formula, meant to reduce the effect of large, late-career pay increases for the highest-paid employees in the SDRS.
The system's retirement benefit has previously been based on what's called final average compensation, using the average salary over a set period of years, along with class and years of service. Until June 30, a three-year final average compensation, or FAC, transition period is in effect. Starting July 1, a four-year average period will be in effect and from July 1, 2023, onward, the period will be based on five years average compensation.
The change essentially means that retirement benefits will be calculated over a longer period at the end of a person's public employment, meaning that benefit could be lower than it would have been otherwise.
SDRS said the change will help with the sustainability of the program for its nearly 90,000 total members, as the program is fully funded and financially strong.
Some of the retiring employees on Thursday reported the changes to the system calculations were part of the season they had decided to retire before July.