Baker won’t say how many state workers signed up for buyout

There could still be layoffs of state employees

BOSTON (STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE/WWLP) – The Baker Administration won’t say how many state employees expressed interest in an early buyout two days after the deadline to sign up for it.

The voluntary buyout program had a goal of generating $25 million in savings and preventing layoffs,

It’s one of a series of steps to close a $294 million budget gap. The incentive program gave workers until the end of the day Monday to apply for a one-time payout to leave state service.

Budget officials have not estimated the number of workers who would need to participate in the program in order to hit the savings target of $25 million. And as of Wednesday afternoon, the total number of applications was not available.

Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore opened the application period on Oct. 17, offering a one-time cash payment of $15,000 to retirement-eligible employees and $5,000 to employees who are not eligible for retirement.

Layoffs are still possible. When she launched the program, Lepore wrote, “we will assess whether we need to achieve additional payroll savings through a non-voluntary layoff.”

According to the administration, around 42,000 employees were eligible, including approximately 12,000 who are retirement-eligible. Agency heads will make the decisions on who is approved to leave, and all participating employees must leave state service by Jan. 2, 2017.