Shortfall on applicants for Baker’s early retirement program

The state only expects between 3,000 to 3,300 applicants

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Not as many people are applying for the Governor Charlie Baker’s early retirement program as state officials once thought. The three to four month wait for the first check to arrive in the mail could be to blame.

Boston State Representative Russell Holmes told 22News, “I know for me for certain, I’m not one to say, ‘Yeah, I would want to go resign and then wait three or four months before I would have my first check.’ I’m sure that’s probably one of the things families are considering.”

Qualified state employees under the Governor’s control would retire early with higher pensions. The state hopes to realize $172million in savings by re-hiring only a portion of the positions. Up to 4,500 state employees could participate in the program, but now the state only expects around 3,000.

The point of the program was never about cutting jobs – it was all about the savings. Even though fewer people are applying for early retirement, the state may still hit its money savings goal. The average salaries of those who applied are higher than original estimates. If the Baker administration does not meet their projections, State Representative Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford) thinks they should extend the application deadline.

He said, “if the savings based on their salaries is enough to offset that, then I’m comfortable with that. If not, we need to give them an additional number of weeks to make that decision. We ought to consider that as well.”

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