Gov. Haslam's Octogenarian Problem

The incoming state House regime has “not retained” up to five legislator secretaries, causing some consternation among the staff and some members. But the secretaries, ranging in age from 75 to 82, many without computer skills, are eligible for state retirement pensions. Salaries for the admins with decades of service were in the $60,000 range. Entry level secretary replacements are in a salary range of $30,000 to $35,000.

Gov. Phil Bredesen tried to cut state employment last year with retirement incentives, but many state employees turned down the offer—some of them in their 80s.

Incoming Gov. Bill Haslam has said he doesn’t want wholesale layoffs to cut the budget, but attrition among state employees seems to be hard to attain, given their longevity.

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