Governor Tom Vilsack today signed the law which extends early retirement benefits to long-time state workers. Vilsack estimates 700 state workers will opt for the plan, which’ll help avoid some lay-offs to deal with the state budget crisis.AFSCME, the largest state workers’ union, voted in October to accept the retirement package, which gives a lump sum payment to cover unused vacation and sick leave. The union also voted to delay their next pay raises.The new law also lets managers offer severance packages to some workers not yet eligible for early retirement but who’ve been employed by the state for at least a decade.Fifty-nine-year-old Dennis Tice, the director of planning and programming for the Iowa Department of Transportation, is going to retire early. Tice has had a few health problems in the past couple of years, and the ability to keep his state-paid insurance until he’s 62 was the deciding factor.
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