ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The number of employees retiring from state government has hit a new annual record, and some officials worry they won’t be able to replace the skills walking out the door.

The executive director of the Minnesota State Retirement System, Dave Bergstrom, said Monday that 2,733 state employees have retired as of this month, up 675 from the record 2,058 who retired in 2010.

He said it was a matter of a mature workforce and an early retirement incentive offered in 2010. That incentive offered two years of health insurance for employees who retired by June 30, 2011.

“It was not unexpected because of the early retirement incentive,” he said. “It doesn’t cause any issues for us.”

However, State Demographer Tom Gillaspy said the wave of retirements does pose some problems for state government, which is faced with replacing senior employees with unique skills in subjects like school finance, tax collections and building roads in Minnesota’s hard climate.

“Some of them are going to be hard to replace,” he said. In fact, the state has already had such difficultly replacing lost skills that it has hired some retirees back as consultants, Gillaspy said.

Managers are now doing more succession planning for soon-to-depart leaders and thinking about how to reconfigure state operations around the skills of younger employees, he said.

The retirements could also bring into focus the state’s difficulty hiring top quality replacements, given that pay and promotions in state government now lag the private sector and academia, Gillaspy said.

“We better start thinking about how we’re going to compete for top talent,” Gillaspy said. “This is not a cost-less thing.”

The retirement system covers about 48,500 employees of the state, the University of Minnesota, the Metropolitan Council and some employees in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (13)
  1. pat says:

    What skills for goodnes sake, have you ever not stood in line while this highly skilled staff stood behind the counter gossiping and laughing? What a joke, we could give this entire over paid group their astronomical pensions and no one would miss any productivity.

    1. Mn Taxpayer says:

      Pat- you obviously have no clue what you are talking about. What state employee sits behind a counter and gossips. Are you stereotyping a little bit there “Pat”. There are alot of highly skilled State of Mn. Workers that are not getting paid well at all. The department heads are about the only highly paid Mn. State employees out there. “Pat” go find a tea party to join, or at least get a clue!

    2. Support State Workers says:

      State workers are more than just the ones that help you when you stand in line to get your welfare benifits……….

      1. A sickened mom says:

        Actually most state employees make a decent salary if not more than a decent salary. Why don’t you all take a look!!

  2. Kevin says:

    I would worry more about how we are going to pay for all these cushy pensions! We are already billions in debt! Welfare system pushed the the brink, Educational system pushed to the brink, Pension costs pushed to the brink, Unemployment pushed to the brink, Illegals taking over cities. Sooner or later the smart ones will leave and the users will have no one to pay for them…..let the Revolution begin.

  3. gdog says:

    I have to agree with Pat. You either wait in line or get transferred around if you call on the phone. I have never had a posative experience with government workers. Of course I only use their services when I’m forced to by law such as renewing my drivers license.

  4. dan says:

    So we give an incentive to retire early only to find ourselves in a jam with a lack of skilled workers in the Govt?
    So what was the purpose of giving away 2 years of free health care to 2700+ ex-employees of the State?
    No wonder wwe are broke!

  5. Frankie says:

    Ignorance abounds on this board. The AP writer for not even looking into the why of it, to Kevin not having a clue to the source of pension fund, to the person using other people’s name (gdog) not knowing that the license centers are not run by the state.

  6. jhaqs says:

    I hope all these retiring baby boomers ease traffic a little.

  7. G Dog says:

    WCCO won’t let me defend my good name against pretenders.

    1. Kevin says:

      G Dog if your talking about some POS named “Frankie”…let it be…..just having the name “Frankie” all of his life has done enough damage I am sure…..he has that arrogant, pompous tude of a beaten nerd…..

      1. IMA POS Kevin says:

        Are you too blind to read there was a post by someone posing as gdog? Perhaps the POS is you. Workers negotiated a contract. Blame the administration. If you sign a contract that is bad for you do you blame the other party.

  8. Murph says:

    Many of the workers are required to have licenses and training that include years of actual experience to even qualify to test for those positions.So when someone from a highly skilled position retires,they then have to find someone or have enough prequalified candidates waiting in the wings.Public works jobs neccessarily have these public safety and oversight rules.The employees did not make these rules.They just had the patience and will power to put in the time neccesary to claw their way up.Does your apartment owner or caretaker have a boiler license? I can tell you that someone with a license at some time or other at least visits your building.So since apartment buildings and shopping malls ,schools, universities and hotels are not blowing up all the time.The state of Minnesota has rules saying that they should have qualified attention and checks up on that to ensure it! Use a swimming pool somewhere? take a bus? get a delivery from a truck? and on and on! Those state and local snow plows?Plummers,electricians,electric from uranium?etc,etc.That’s just the way it is.Want to live dangerously? Go vote GOP and shut up!

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