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Archive for Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Statehouse Live: KOSE files actions against Brownback’s voluntary retirement plan

August 3, 2011

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— 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.

Comments

DillonBarnes 3 years, 4 months ago

He doesn't need to abide by the law, he's brownback!

Kansass 3 years, 4 months ago

WHAT???? Saint Sam ignoring laws and due process? Say it ain't so. When will the peasents of Brownbackistan realize that Sam is above the law.

Kansass 3 years, 4 months ago

I will say Sam has caused me to pray more often. I pray somehow the people of Brownbackistan will survive his reign of terror.

deec 3 years, 4 months ago

Good. Hope they win the injunction, and the lawsuit, although of course that's more money drained from the public coffers of the broke state. I wonder what high-priced cronies they'll farm this legal work out to?

Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 4 months ago

Shame on you Sam! But it's good to see that people of Kansas are throwing the BS back in your face!! Your use of power in office is disgusting! I'll bet the hairs on your neck are standing up in frustration and anger about now!!! GOOD!!!

JayhawkFan1985 3 years, 4 months ago

Not consulting with KOSE about terms of state employment amounts to the same thing as not consulting with a city when considering closing a state office located there. Consultation after a decision is made is not consultation, it is FYI.

Alceste 3 years, 4 months ago

That Jane Carter is IN over her head.....big time. KOSE is a paper tiger. It's a real shame the civil servants of Kansas ain't got themselves a REAL union....but then again, they don't really want one. Seemingly they enjoy getting the shaft year in and year out whilst their "brothers and sisters" in the teacher unions, the firepeoples unions, and them police peoples unions rake in the bucks year in and year out. Oh well....maybe one day.....

deec 3 years, 4 months ago

Anointed monarchs aren't bound by the law. :)

somebodynew 3 years, 4 months ago

OK, here is how it probably went: Sham and Denny talked to each other and since they are gods, they figured this is what god wanted them to do and nothing else mattered. It is all about what pleases their religious beliefs after all.

Actually, I am kind of tossed about this one.I agree with Alceste that this "union" is just a paper tiger and cannot really do anything since if you are unclassified (as most employees are) you are an "at will" employee and the administration can pretty much do as they please.

Second, I am sure that the employees who are affected by this offer can't wait to jump at it and get "out of Dodge" while the getting is good. After all, it is better than waiting for the Friday afternoon pink slip. Trust me, there are a lot of people who no longer look forward to Friday quite as much these days.

somebodynew 3 years, 4 months ago

While I agree somewhat, explain to me why then this Administration is doing things in such a manner as to attract lawsuits about most of their decisions simply because they don't follow (man's) law ???? If we are so broke why don't they take the time to make sure they are following the law to prevent or limit some of these lawsuits. And then they hire big dollar firms to defend their actions. Some broke, huh ???

As in this case, the law says they have to meet and confer - that's it. Don't have to reach agreement and they can still do what they want. Why not wait a couple of days, have the meeting, then say, well we couldn't agree and do what they want??? Might actuall save a few thousand bucks that way.

Crazy_Larry 3 years, 4 months ago

(psst! Have you seen the new state logo yet? What about the new state web-site, have you seen it? We're not so 'broke' after all!)

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

The new state website? Half of it's links are still broken! I went to the DMV website to try and get a fee schedule on driver's licenses and ended up almost tearing my hair out! I finally gave up and called the one out by I-70. He asked me to "hold" and then put the phone down where I could hear everything for a good 15 minutes. Wow...just...wow.

pittstatebb 3 years, 4 months ago

Once again, 1) The state is not broke, is not going broke, nor can ever be broke. Read the state constitution. 2) We currently have a budget surplus.

Neither of the above facts make judgement on wether KS needs to cut spending, raise taxes, etc. They are simply facts that some people seem to forget when they are confusing the federal government with the State of Kansas.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Lawsuit number four and there's more a-coming! Batten down the hatches!

weeslicket 3 years, 4 months ago

"As incentives, the state would provide a lump sum payment of $6,500 or continued health insurance coverage for up to five years."

better take the health coverage. $6500 won't last very long.

deec 3 years, 4 months ago

Better yet, decline the offer. When they fire/lay off workers, they can collect unemployment.

lawslady 3 years, 4 months ago

That is BEFORE taxes is taken out of that money.

William Weissbeck 3 years, 4 months ago

I love some some of the story's facts. If the comma is correctly placed, then there are 24,000 currently eligible for retirement. That says something about the dedication of Kansas government workers - they could retire, but would rather continue working. Some of these are working to keep health insurance until they are eligible for Medicare. That says something about the state of private health insurance - once you are past 55 or 60, the insurance industry is not going to do you any favors. And if we "reform" Medicare to raise the eligibility age, the states are going to be in the same bind - older workers holding on to their jobs for dear life to keep their health insurance.

verity 3 years, 4 months ago

Classified employees (not sure whether this covers unclassified or not) can continue their state health insurance coverage forever, not just for 18 months or whatever is now covered by COBRA. Of course, you have to pay the full amount which comes to over $500/mo for regular coverage just for a single person. So the continued health insurance would generally be a much better deal than the lump sum, even if you are close to being eligible for Medicare, as you still need to have supplemental insurance. At least that's the way I read it. Whether it would cover the supplemental after one goes on Medicare isn't clear.

One of the problems I see with this is that it doesn't give people much time to make what is one of the most important decisions of your life and generally includes quite a number of factors. Also, just the paperwork for retirement takes awhile.

nobody11 3 years, 4 months ago

The health insurace coverage is for up to 60 months if the employee is receiving member-only benefits or until the participant reaches the age of 65 whichever occurs sooner.

If the employee has member plus dependant coverage then it would only be 42 months or until the participant reaches the age of 65.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, hard to wean them from that health insurance, isn't it? Maybe come 2014 when Obamacare really kicks in they might think about it.

lawslady 3 years, 4 months ago

From what I have been able to find out, NO ONE is forcing ANYONE to take early retirement. It is simply being offered to a certain group of employees - as a way to (theoretically) save the state money. Along with the incentive to retire comes the requirement that the agency employing them not fill the spot for 3 years (unless they get permission to do otherwise). So why does KOSE need to be consulted before employees get to decide (for themselves) if they want to accept (or decline) such an offer? Does the union think they are too stupid to figure it out on their own?

jafs 3 years, 4 months ago

It's in their contract.

The state should have honored the contract, don't you think?

Jan Rolls 3 years, 4 months ago

If Taylor's history follows him from when he was in charge of the dept of human resources, all those that don't "voluntarily" retire will find themselves with a new organization chart that eliminated their position or requires them to take a lower paid position. He pulled that kind of stuff with KDHR. He got rid of a lot of good hard working people with a "D" by their name. that way. His transition staff was actually caught going through the voter registration roles to identify the D's.

lawslady 3 years, 4 months ago

But in this case, didn't they simply say ALL Classified employees in KPERS who have a certain number of years with the state are in the eligible group? How could that all be made up of D.s? And don't D.'s do the same thing when they come into power (letting people who opposed them in a race know they may want to move along)? Isn't that typical of how politically chartered agencies operate?

Kontum1972 3 years, 4 months ago

well ya dont see the gov., offering to take a cut in pay,,,,lead by example.....SHd

verity 3 years, 4 months ago

"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."

I've read this statement a number of times and can't make out whether 24,000 is the total number of state employees or is the number eligible for retirement, of which only 4,000 are eligible for this program.

Also, lawslady, I see nothing about KPERS in the article. Exactly who is eligible for the program?

While I know some of you think that state employees do absolutely nothing but sit on their rears all day, there are certainly a number who work very hard and under a lot of stress. So now the wait for any kind of services (driver's license, etc.) will be longer and probably voter registration even more difficult than the new laws already make it. Looks like another attempt to make government non-functional.

earline james 3 years, 4 months ago

Let's say I had my 55 birthday in June and that my 30th anniversary (for State employment) was April 1. I'm one of the 4000 thinking about early retirement. When age + yrs of service = 85, you can retire from State employment (you are not eligible for Medicare until you're 65 and are now responsible for paying your own insurance premium),. I've seen people retire and then return to work (for less money!) because the insurance premiums was so expensive. I'm not going to make that mistake and figured I'd hang on for another decade because I really need medical coverage.. Let's say that I'm working in the Lawrence SRS on July 1 and heard the announcement that they were closing the Lawrence office. I'm who.

Orwell 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm not the first to make this observation, but Republicans campaign on the claim that government doesn't work – then once in power, they proceed to prove it.

Nett 3 years, 4 months ago

University of Kansas employees stop worrying about it - we are not eligible to participate in the VRIP since we are USS and not classified positions - THANKS for nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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