"Madison— The stream of workers
leaving state agencies last year gushed at the highest level seen in at
least a decade, driven by an improving economy that is making private
employers more attractive in relation to their counterparts in
"Nearly one in eight employees left their state jobs
last year for retirement, another job or other reasons, with one in five
workers in some health care fields departing. In all, 3,600 workers
outside of the University of Wisconsin System moved on from their state
jobs in 2015, which was 23% more than 2014 and nearly twice as many as
"The numbers, released to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
through an open records request, don't explain on their own why more
workers are leaving or show that Wisconsin government is any worse than
state governments around the country.
"It's clear that a big part
of the trend can be explained by an improving economy that's giving
workers more job opportunities than several years ago, when state
employees hunkered down and generally didn't leave their jobs for
reasons other than retirement.
"'We're seeing a definite trend in
that it's difficult to recruit and retain state workers (nationally).
It's due in significant part to compensation. In some parts of the
country, it's not competing with market rates in the private sector,'
said Leslie Scott, executive director of the National Association of
State Personnel Executives.
"But the figures also add fire to an
ongoing debate about whether stagnant wages and changes to union rules
have made state government a less attractive employer to its workforce.
Though controlling labor costs can be good for taxpayers, higher
turnover, vacant jobs and the learning curve for new workers can also
drive up overtime and training costs and affect public services.
the baby boom generation also hitting retirement age, the loss of
experienced workers is likely to remain an issue for the state for some
time to come. Citing that problem and the need for more efficient hiring
practices, Gov. Scott Walker in February signed a broad overhaul of the state's century-old system of merit hiring and firing.
reforms will allow us to better compete with the private sector and
recruit the best and the brightest state employees to ensure we are
providing high quality state services to citizens. These reforms also
give agencies more tools to retain employees while allowing the state to
hire more quickly and efficiently, which will help mitigate'
departures, Walker administration spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said.
the Great Recession, new opportunities for workers and turnover in
state government both plummeted, dropping in 2010 to 1,821 civil
servants, or 6% of the state workforce, who left their non-university
jobs for a variety of reasons, from retirements and resignations to
terminations, layoffs and death. The figures don't include workers who
took a different state job, and the numbers don't differentiate between
resignations and firings.
"In 2011, Walker signed the law known as
Act 10, repealing most union bargaining for most public workers and
increasing state workers' benefit contributions by an amount equal to
about 8.5% of take-home pay. That year, retirements jumped as employees
sought to avoid fundamental changes to their retirement benefits, which
didn't end up materializing. But with the recession still deep,
relatively few employees resigned to take other jobs.
"The state offered across-the-board raises of 1% in 2014 and 2015, along with some merit increases for select employees, but no increases in the current two-year budget."
Read more: http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/wisconsin-state-workers-leaving-in-higher-numbers-as-economy-improves-b99706989z1-376578101.html
This is why state government now moves slow as molasses.
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