Budget, treasurer seeking permission to pay both salary and retirement

"Critical shortage" applications to fill two vacant state positions and keep two veteran administrators are on the Board of Examiners agenda for this week.

Designating those positions as having a "critical shortage" of qualified takers will allow the people holding those jobs to collect both their salary and retirement benefits at the same time.

The special status has already been granted for six public safety job classifications, including Public Safety Director Dick Kirkland, his deputy Dave Kieckbusch and Administrative Services Officer Jan Capaldi.

For Kirkland, it meant a $70,000 increase in compensation to more than $170,000. That occurred just a month before the governor sharply reduced Kirkland's administrative responsibilities by separating DMV from Public Safety and giving the Motor Vehicles job to Ginny Lewis.

The applications on the board's Thursday agenda will to do the same for Chief Deputy Budget Director Don Hataway and Chief Deputy Treasurer John Adkins. Both are qualified by age and experience to retire.

In addition, applications facing the board would declare a "critical shortage" for the treasurer's deputy in charge of cash management and for the rangemaster/armorer in charge of firearms training at the state's POST academy. Those positions are vacant and the state has been unable to find someone to fill them.

Budget Director Perry Comeaux said he was putting Hataway's name in because his expertise and abilities would be almost impossible to replace in time for the 2003 legislative session.

Hataway is the acknowledged expert on education budgets from local public school districts and the distributive school fund to the university and community college system. Together, those budgets make up more than half the total state general fund budget.

Hataway also managed the budget office and presentation of the governor's budget to the Legislature while Comeaux was recuperating from a heart attack.

He has 20 years in the Public Employees Retirement System and is paid $88,463 a year. Allowing him to collect retirement as well as that salary would add about $44,000 to his total compensation.

Adkins is currently functioning both as chief deputy treasurer and deputy for cash management. He is paid $82,839 annually but would get about $25,000 a year more if the board approves the plan.

Treasurer Brian Krolicki said the post requires expertise in governmental accounting, cash management and banking and securities among others. He has been trying to recruit a future chief deputy for more than a year without success.

"The primary factors creating the labor shortage are the competition's ability to pay more money and provide better advancement opportunities than what the state government can offer," he argued in his support letter to the board.

Adkins, 67, said he would stay on while helping groom some one to replace him if the "critical shortage" status is approved.

The rangemaster/armorer position at Peace Officers Standards and Training has been open for nearly a year. No qualified applicants have come forward. Kirkland was unavailable to say whether he had a specific person in mind for the job.

Under Assembly Bill 555 approved by the 2001 Legislature, the Board of Examiners can declare a critical shortage of qualified applicants for specialized positions the state is having trouble filling. What that designation does is allow a retiree to take the job and still collect retirement benefits. Normally, those benefits are cut off if the person returns to public employment.

It was originally designed to help encourage teachers with expertise in such areas a special education, counseling and math to come out of retirement and return to the classroom.

Gov. Kenny Guinn, who heads the Board of Examiners, wanted it expanded to include any state or local government job where there is a severe shortage of qualified applicants. He and the other members of the board - Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa and Secretary of State Dean Heller - will vote on the applications Aug. 23.


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