Retirements leave holes in state employment

Michigan State Roundup

Published September 1, 2002  | September 2002 issue

Like many other states, Michigan faces a budget shortfall. One solution: an early retirement program for state employees that went into effect July 1. Of the state's nearly 63,000 employees, about 8,000 will leave their jobs between July 1 and Nov. 1, equaling a 12 percent drop in workers. Some positions eventually may be filled with new employees, but the majority of position cuts are permanent.

In the Upper Peninsula, dozens of state employees are taking that early retirement, and that has many worried about the continuing quality of services. For example, the Family Independence Agency in Marquette will lose 16 of its 50 employees; the Department of Natural Resources expects 18 of 87 employees throughout several U.P. offices to accept the retirement package.

Gov. John Engler's plan is expected to save about $50 million in the 2003 budget year, which begins Oct. 1.

Kathy Cobb