Topeka A state employees union on Wednesday alleged Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration ignored state laws when rolling out a voluntary retirement incentive program.
The Kansas Organization of State Employees asked a state district court to restrain the state from implementing the program, which Brownback officials have said will save the state millions of dollars.
And KOSE filed actions with the Kansas Public Employee Relations Board, alleging Brownback’s Department of Administration failed to notify KOSE of changes in conditions of employment as required by the labor agreement with the state.
Jane Carter, KOSE executive director, said that the union is not opposed to the concept of a voluntary retirement incentive but that implementation of such a program must adhere to state statutes and the labor agreement.
Carter has said the state should have met and discussed the proposal with KOSE to ensure that state employees, citizens and the public retirement system “were not negatively impacted” by the plan.
Department of Administration Secretary Dennis Taylor said the state wasn’t obligated to meet with KOSE to implement the program, although KOSE and state officials are set to meet Aug. 10.
“For Secretary Taylor to implement a change to conditions of employment one week prior to meet and confer, with no notice to the Union, is quite disappointing,” Carter said.
Brownback’s office did not immediately respond to KOSE’s filings.
On Tuesday, Brownback said the retirement plan would save the state money by reducing the government payroll. Many of those who would retire would not be replaced.
Taylor said about 4,000 of the state’s 24,000 employees, who are currently eligible for full or early retirement would be eligible for the incentive program.
The voluntary program would be available to state retirement-eligible employees who offer to retire with the next 45 days.
As incentives, the state would provide a lump sum payment of $6,500 or continued health insurance coverage for up to five years.
Taylor said the deal is geared to attract retirement eligible state employees who may be staying on the job to maintain health coverage until they are eligible for Medicare at age 65.
Eligible employees have until Sept. 2 to make their offer to retire. Those whose offers are accepted will work no later than Sept. 19.