May 04, 2015

Baker Signs ERIP Into Law

The chairpeople of the House and Senate budget committees reached a compromise on the early retirement bill late on Friday, May 1, clearing the way for up to 5,000 eligible executive branch employees to take early retirement. The bill, which was signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker late this afternoon, will give eligible executive branch employees from May 11 through June 12, 2015 to apply to the Board of Retirement.

NAGE National President David J. Holway commented, “I am happy to see the bill signed into law but I don’t believe it goes far enough. None of the employees who receive pay checks from Federal grants and capital funds are included in this bill. I am also concerned about the institutional knowledge that will be lost as a result of so many people leaving the government. It will be difficult to continue functioning after losing so many experienced employees.”
Under this law, the retirement board will prioritize those workers who have a longer length of service if the number of applicants reaches the 5,000-employee cap the legislature has set. The bill also includes a 30-day cooling-off period, in which the administration cannot rehire retired employees as consultants. The administration will be allowed to hire new employees to fill positions vacated because of early retirements, but it cannot spend more than 20 percent of the payroll savings on backfills.
There are reports that the Baker administration is already alerting agency heads that they may be authorized to offer buyouts of as much as $10,000 as additional incentive to eligible employees who have already “maxed out” on their retirement benefits.  However, a certain number of positions will be designated as “critical positions” ineligible for early retirement incentives. The bill gives the secretary of administration and finance until Friday, May 8 to designate those positions in writing.
The Presidents of the NAGE State locals responded to the news:
Unit 6 Local 207 President Theresa McGoldrick:
“I am happy to see employees who were looking forward to retirement benefit from the ERIP but I am concerned about the backfill numbers. It would be terrible to see services suffer.”
Unit 1 Local 292 and MA DOT Unit A President, John Mann:
 “The RMV is already understaffed and I just hope the lines don’t get longer as a result.”
Unit 6 Local 282 President Greg Sorozan:
“While I am pleased that the ERIP will offer a more humane exit from the stresses of work, I have great concerns for those employees in some of the most stressful of agencies.  DCF has been in a state of DISTRESS for several years.  They are already short staffed.  The ERIP is bound to give an out to many attorneys and administrative service coordinators-key people in that troubled agency.”
Unit 6 Local 308 President Stephen Douglas:
“We will lose a lot of great employees, which is disappointing. However, I think it’s great for members of my local who have been looking into retirement.”
Unit 3 Local 219 and MA DOT Unit C President Leo Monroe:
“I hope everyone who was considering retirement looks into this and does what is best for them, but there’s a lot of experience and hands-on knowledge that could be walking out that door.”
MA DOT Unit D President Chris Grey:
“I hope we can continue to provide the best services to the people who depend on us. I am very concerned about losing employees because I know most people I work with cannot afford to take on more work.” 

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Helpful Forms and Information from the State Board of Retirement

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NAGE HEADQUARTERS 159 Burgin Parkway
Quincy, MA 02169
Main Phone: (617)376-0220
Main Fax: (617)984-5695
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