Archive for Monday, November 21, 2011

1,027 Kansas state employees take early buyout

November 21, 2011, 1:57 p.m. Updated November 21, 2011, 11:34 p.m.


— A voluntary state employee retirement program is expected to save Kansas government about $34.5 million over two years, a Brownback administration official said Monday

Administration Secretary Dennis Taylor said 1,027 eligible state employees, whose annual salaries total $42.7 million, decided to participate in the early retirement program. After including the cost of health insurance and other expenses, Taylor said the state will save $8.9 million in the current fiscal year and $25.6 million in fiscal year 2013.

Eligible employees were offered a chance to retire early and receive either a lump-sum payment of $6,500 or up to five years of group health insurance. Taylor said more than 90 percent of those who chose to retire elected to take the health care option until age 65 when they are eligible for the federal Medicare system.

“No offer of retirement was rejected by the state for anybody,” Taylor said.

Some of the positions being vacated will be replaced, Taylor said, which may affect overall savings to the state. He said Gov. Sam Brownback has given guidance to agency officials that an aggregate of 25 percent of the retirements would be replaced.

Taylor said the figure would range between 18 percent and 40 percent for individual agencies.

The largest number of retirements came from the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services with 344 positions, followed by the Department of Transportation at 152 positions and Kansas State University at 68 positions.

“I think it will be interesting how this unfolds and the impact on the different agencies,” said Rep. Sharon Schwartz, a Washington Republican.

Taylor modeled the program after one he administered while he was a Topeka city official. He said the participation rate was similar to what the city experienced, though he didn’t have a goal in mind for the state in reducing payroll.

Brownback’s administration has been looking for ways to reduce its payroll and overhead costs to drive down state spending. Earlier this year, the governor eliminated some 2,000 vacant positions across state government, some of which had been open for several years. It was part of the overall effort to increase the state’s cash reserves in the current fiscal year.

The cuts in spending and improving state revenue collections have the state in a position to end the 2012 fiscal year on June 30 with more than $315 million in reserves.


headdoctor 6 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like 1000 State employees had the good sense to jump ship. Sure you saved Kansas money Governor Brownback. I doubt your calculations figured in the loss of knowledge base and what it might take to replace that loss or suffer through without it. It might end up costing much more if some of those people decide it is to early to quit work and go back to work in a different position for a double dip.

tomatogrower 6 years, 3 months ago

He'll just bring in people from Florida and pay them more money, so no money saved anyway.

chootspa 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm betting they're contractually excluded from double dipping in this state. And if they find another state or a private employer who offers a retirement benefit, more power to 'em, I say.

progressive_thinker 6 years, 3 months ago

You are correct. They are contractually excluded from employment by the state or a contractor of the state for five years.

The contract does not exclude private sector employment.

headdoctor 6 years, 3 months ago

My bad. You are correct. It seems if there is an exception it would be up to the Governor or the Governor’s designee to decide.

progressive_thinker 6 years, 3 months ago

You are very correct in your assessment of the issue of "..loss of knowledge base."

Think of all of the trained snowplow operators [it takes over a year to train one of these], prison officers and managers [this is a field only learned through experience], and mental health service providers that will no longer be with us.

1983Hawk 6 years, 3 months ago

What about the immediate, direct loss to sales and excise tax receipts relative to the loss of expenditures from state employees who no longer are receiving salaries, not to mention the indirect "multiplier effect" people are always raving about?

Surely that has been factored in to the analysis of cost savings. Oh, wait. I forgot that the public sector workers are scum, and the money they spend is inconsequential and gets multiplied nowhere near as much as dollars spent by employees of that model of efficiency that is the private sector.

imastinker 6 years, 3 months ago

Use your "multiplier effect" BS on someone else's money!

Steve Jacob 6 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if anyone took the $6,500? Seems like nothing to me. Now if your 60 and get five years insurance, not a bad deal.

progressive_thinker 6 years, 3 months ago

Some took the $6,500 because they were already eligible for medicare, and going to retire anyway. In these cases, the money spent did not realize any savings.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 3 months ago

How much is saved if any depends on how those saved dollars get spent. I say there will not be any savings whatsoever.

Think "tax dollar moochers" aka corporate welfare or can we say corporate socialism. Donated by politicians expecting special interest campaign contributions.

If the state is recognizing such great savings where are the taxpayers tax reductions?

By losing so many state employees what will not get done,what will not get inspected = could be known as defacto deregulation.

jj14 6 years, 3 months ago

I don't remember hearing about this offer????? Was it eligible to all State Employees? I am a State Employee and never heard a peep about this till now.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 3 months ago

What the article doesn't say is that the work still needs to get done and much of it will be outsorced to private contractors. So, there may be a decrease in salaries, but any such savings will be offset by more expensive private contractors. The great leap backward continues. Ideology wins out over sanity.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 3 months ago

The city of Wichita has a similar program but is offering their employees $25000 not $6500 which is similar to what SW Bell and other private sector firms have done.

Randy Leonard 6 years, 3 months ago

You'd better hope for a mild winter. About 100 KDOT maintenance (they operate the snow plows among other things) employees retired and most will not be replaced. Maybe Brownback can find some snow plow operators from Florida.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 3 months ago

Does the legislature have any power over private contractors agreements?

Does the legislature have any power over deciding if services should be outsourced? Once outsourced taxpayers lose control and probably quality control.

Private industry loves no bid gov't contracts because all they see is $$$$$$$$ in their eyes, zero quality control and no "watchdog". Private industry sees government as easy prey cuz politicians love special interest campaign dollars.

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