A total of 238 Birmingham city workers retiring this week

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Two-hundred thirty-eight Birmingham employees are calling it quits this week. They are retiring and taking advantage of the city's new incentive package. Virginia Guthrie is retiring from the city's library department after 46 and a half years. Guthrie got a standing ovation in a recognition ceremony Monday.

When asked what she will miss the most, Guthrie said, "Work. I love it. Libraries are my passion."

Mary Bouie walked into Birmingham City Hall in 1965.  This was even before there was a mayor- council form of government.

"After 45 years, I realized it was time to go," Bouie said.

Most of those taking the incentive package say it was too good to turn up. This included Becky and David Scarborough. The couple has worked for the library department for almost 40 years.

"The incentive was so good we felt like it was better to do it now than later. We looked at the pros and cons and decided it was time to take the offer," Becky Scarborough said.

A total of 238 employees took the city's offer. The package will save Birmingham $16 million in the long run. The city will still have to hire about 80 workers to replace some of the critical positions.

Mayor William Bell calls it a bitter sweet decision.

It was a challenge to see how we would reduce the size of government. We are losing a lot of talented people." Bell said.

While most of these employees say they will miss their job, they also have some advice for the those staying behind.

"Treat everyone that works for you the way you want to be treated. You never know who you have to work for," Guthrie said.