Following news reports this weekend about the state making many large payments to retiring employees for unused vacation and sick time, state Sen. Mike Parry, a Republican from Waseca, said he wants to hold legislative hearings on the matter.
Parry chairs the Senate State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee and the Senate Subcommittee on Employee Relations. He has not yet set a date for the hearings.
Stories by KSTP News and the Pioneer Press noted high state payouts to retirees. The reports note that the state paid out millions more in unused vacation and sick time pay than usual this year because of many early retirements spurred by state budget cuts.
While most state retirees get an additional $10,000 to $30,000 for their unused sick time, “a handful of employees — all from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system — got checks topping $100,000,” the Pioneer Press story said.
KSTP showed a retired MnSCU senior vice president who got $190,000 in severance, unused sick time and vacation.
In a press release today, Parry said the hearings will address “recently reported excessive vacation, sick time and retirement payouts to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) officials and other government employees.”
“Recent reports suggest that MnSCU administrators and employees in other areas of the government workforce have received excessive vacation and sick time payouts upon leaving or retiring from their position. Reported amounts range from a single individual payout of over $300,000 to more than $86 million total paid from 2009-2011. As Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Employee Relations, I am announcing that we will hold legislative hearings to gather more information on the depth and extent of these allegations, review the current compensation plans, and address any inadequacies in the system.
“We are aware of some issues within the current agreements that led to these allegations and large payouts. We plan to invite all parties involved to provide more information, details, suggestions and context to this discussion. If there are reforms and improvements we can make in the interest of protecting both our public employees and the taxpayers, such as possible vacation or sick time caps and payout limits, we will pursue them. I intend to be as proactive as possible in scrutinizing these agreements and improving them as we move forward.”