The law, which kicked in at the end of August, reduces the interest rate on public retirement through annuity savings accounts for those who choose a monthly payment, instead of a lump sum and retire
Locally, some public offices have been hit with more retirements than normal. St. Joseph County Auditor
"One promised me that she would walk out with me at the end of my term," Mullen said. "She came to me and said, 'I'm sorry, but I have to retire.' You can't blame them."
According to the county's human resources Director
Between 15 and 20 employees left during the past pay period alone, according to accounts payable/payroll manager
Bybee herself is eligible for retirement, but decided to stay. She won't be affected.
"I realized I wouldn't lose anything because I'm not drawing monthly," Bybee said. "If you take the full amount, then it doesn't affect you."
Al Large, director of instructional technology and library services for the
"Everybody has a different scenario," he said. "You have to figure out what fits your situation. It really depends on each individual."
Large said he attended several meetings for public employees and decided that retiring early was the right choice for him, though he will have higher medical premiums for a short while.
"Many don't want to see a lower payment, and if you expect to receive benefits over a decade or more, that means losing tens of thousands of dollars," Talos said.
The retirees equal 2.5 percent of the work force in the city, she said. She doesn't see any problem filling the vacancies.
"The retirements are widespread. We're always recruiting, especially in police and fire, to make sure public safety is adequately staffed," she said. "The retirements will not have a huge impact on any one department."
In the county, however, a hiring freeze, combined with widespread retirements, could spell trouble for some departments. County Clerk
"We usually have one or none," Rethlake said. "I know several would've rather not retired."
She and several other department heads will meet with some county council members and a commissioner on Thursday to discuss the possibility of some departments getting permission to hire for necessary positions.
"What we are seeing are workers across this state choosing to retire before that date, so they can get the full benefits that they had come to expect," Niezgodski said last week.
He's been involved with legislation surrounding public employee retirement and other benefits for years. The problem, he said, is how quickly the state is lowering the rate. The interest will drop one more time in the next few years, and the fund could ultimately be privatized by
He said he hopes that
The discussion about changing the rate of the ASA plans came up in the 2013 session, Niezgodski said, and implementation was delayed for two years, instead of dropping right away.
A better solution would have been to lower it slowly, over time, if that's what the program needed to stay viable, he said.
"We didn't bring it back to what it really was, but it's not as low as it could be," Burton said.
But he believes that privatizing may actually give participants better rates over time than what they could get in the state's system.
Burton also said that, though the Public Employee Retirement office says it could see an additional 2,000 employees retire this year, those might not all be because of the changes in the interest rate.
"I also believe that some had planned to retire anyway," he said by phone Thursday.
Niezgodski agreed, but said that, even if half of those who are retiring because of this, it's a problem.
"How do you measure the loss in collective knowledge? I think that's the main thing," Niezgodski said. "You don't normally see that exodus of experience."
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