Governor Culver has signed a bill into law which extends new incentives to long-time state workers who retire early.
A bonus of up to $25,000, based on years of employment with the state, along with five years of health care coverage are being offered in hopes of getting over a thousand executive branch workers to retire.
Ray Walton, director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, calls it “landmark” legislation.
“First, it thanks and rewards Iowans who have faithfully served the citizens of our great state,” Walton says. “It’s a fitting tribute to their long-standing service, often in tasks that aren’t glamorous, but that are critical to the success of making our state a wonderful place to live.”
According to Walton, there may be a “large turnover” in staff as a result. “While we will miss the talents and skills of those who choose to accept this offer of retirement, some of those newly-vacated positions will be refilled by those with fresh, new, innovative ideas,” Walton says. “This is an important time to embrace those ideas. It’s an important time for our state to have those new, fresh, innovative looks at solving the challenges that are before us.”
Governor Culver says as much as 60-million dollars may be saved as long-time workers choose to retire, some of whom won’t be replaced.
“Today is really a victory for Iowa taxpayers. It’s a victory for hard-working Iowa families,” Culver says. “We are setting an example here at the capitol of making government related to reducing the size of government, making government more lean, making government more efficient.”
Danny Homan is president of AFSCME Council 61, the union which represents the largest share of executive branch workers.Homan calls the legislation a “win-win” for many state employees — beyond those who may retire.
“And it’s going to save jobs, because as these older folks walk out the door with some dignity and retire, we may be able to retain the younger folks who, if these older folks don’t retire, may be laid off,” Homan says. Governor Culver says the 60-million dollars in savings is a key component of a broader effort to find over 300-million dollars in state budget cuts.