By Mary Hladky
Boca Raton City Manager Leif Ahnell plans to stay in his job until 2024.
Ahnell, who has held the city’s top position for 22 years after joining the city staff nine years earlier, had been expected to retire in 2022. But the City Council in January extended Boca Raton’s Deferred Retirement Option Plan for city employees from five to seven years.
For Ahnell, who entered the DROP program in 2017, that means he can stay on the job until 2024.
Ahnell, 57, has been held in high regard by City Council members for many years. He consistently receives top marks in annual evaluations for how he runs the city.
“I would like to see him continue,” Mayor Scott Singer said.
The state and many cities have DROP programs. Employees who enter the program are considered retired but they continue to work.
Their retirement benefits are put into a special account and earn interest. They must actually retire at the end of the DROP period, and then can receive a lump sum payment or roll it over into a qualified instrument.
The program is seen as a great benefit for employees, adding to their retirement income. But it also benefits employers because employees’ additional years of service are not included in future benefit calculations, which saves money.
The changes to DROP “lower costs for taxpayers and enable long-serving, experienced employees to continue their service,” Singer said.