Governor announces retirement incentives program - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Governor announces retirement incentives program

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Governor Robert Bentley announced Monday his intention to get a retirement incentives bill passed during the 2013 Regular Session.

The plan would be for state employees and teachers who are currently eligible to retire.

"This proposal is designed to give those employees who are thinking about retiring in the next several years an incentive to go ahead and retire now" Gov. Bentley said at the offices of Hudson Alpha in Huntsville.

Under the proposal, eligible state workers would be presented a pair of options for their immediate retirement. The first option would allow the retiree as an individual to stay on the state's health insurance plan for five years or until the retiree was 65 or Medicare eligible. If the retiree's family is on the state health insurance plan then it would be covered for two and a half years or up until the enrollee is 65 years old or Medicare eligible.

The second option would provide the retiree with a pair of lump sum payments of $7,500. The first payment would be issued at the time of retirement. The second payment would be issued in 2014.

According to the State Personnel Department there are 10,579 state employees that are eligible to retire. The Alabama Department of Education reports 6,062 teachers eligible for retirement.

The governor and legislative leaders touted the plan as a way to keep the promise to state workers of a pension, while being responsible stewards of the state's resources.

"The volunteer incentive program will give eligible employees an attractive choice" Gov. Bentley said. "The program will be of benefit both to employees who choose to participate and a benefit to the taxpayers of Alabama as well."

The Alabama Education Association's Executive Secretary, Dr. Henry Mabry, wrote an editorial in the organization's newsletter where he said any plan for retirement incentives was just a ploy to get rid of experienced, well paid teachers.

Mac MaCarthur with the Alabama State Employees Association said the incentives sound good for now, but indicated that taxpayers may suffer, due to reduced state services.

"We have a situation that services are bound to be impacted" Macarthur said. "Whether they be delayed or stopped."

The governor said the plan is part of his goal to attain $1 billion in savings since he took office.

The state legislature will take up the measure during the 2013 Regular Legislative Session that begins in February.

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