Governor David A. Paterson Announces Passage of Early Retirement Incentive Legislation

ALBANY, NY (05/28/2010)(readMedia)-- Governor David A. Paterson today announced that the Legislature has passed his bill authorizing an early retirement incentive that will provide State agency commissioners and local officials with an additional mechanism to achieve necessary workforce cost savings.

"My early retirement incentive bill provides State agencies and local government leaders with a tool to streamline the workforce and achieve critical cost savings. This legislation represents an important first step, but additional workforce reductions are essential as we address the State's current $9.2 billion deficit, seek to reduce the structural deficit and continue our efforts to help local governments contain costs and protect property taxpayers," Governor Paterson said. "I applaud the Legislature for passing this bill, and I look forward to signing it into law."

The Governor's Program Bill No. 249 establishes a temporary retirement incentive program for certain State employees and other public employees. Public employees will be able either to retire without penalty at 55 years of age with a minimum of 25 years of service, or be targeted to receive an additional month of pension credit – not to exceed 36 months – for each year of service. This measure is projected to save the State nearly $95 million in the current fiscal year and $225 million in State fiscal year 2011-12. Local public employers will have the option to elect to participate in the early retirement incentive.

The early retirement incentive will be provided in two parts:

Part A provides a targeted incentive to positions that can be eliminated. This incentive provides an additional month of retirement service credit for each year of credited service, up to a maximum of three years of additional retirement service credit, Employers that elect to participate in this part of the retirement incentive program will be required to provide a 30- to 90-day open period to allow eligible employees adequate time to consider the incentive. Local employers that choose to opt-in to Part A must do so on or before August 31, 2010 and school districts must do so by July 30, 2010. Eligible employees must be currently eligible to retire, or be at least 50 years of age with ten or more years of service.

Part B provides the option to retire without penalty to Executive Branch and participating local government employees at age 55 with at least 25 years of service. Participating employers will provide a 90-day open period to allow eligible employees adequate time to consider the incentive. Employers may elect on or before September 1, 2010 to provide employees the benefits of Part B, and educational employers must opt-in by July 1, 2010. Employees meeting the required criteria may be denied participation in this part of the early retirement incentive if it is determined that an employee holds a position that is critical to the maintenance of public health and safety.

Governor Paterson proposed the early retirement incentive, in addition to a number of other workforce proposals, in an effort to achieve $250 million in workforce savings included in his Executive Budget as part of the broader imperative to close the State's $9.2 billion deficit.


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