Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Big Switch Upcoming for County Workers

This is a story which is interesting because it's odd.

Nearly 350 Milwaukee County economic and child care assistance jobs transform into state posts Jan. 1 or sooner, prompting confusion over whether the employees holding them now can shift to state or other county positions.

The move also has led to uncertainty over what happens to their pensions and other benefits.

Seventy-three of the total are child care workers who become state workers or lose their jobs Oct. 1, three months earlier than expected, county supervisors were told Wednesday. The remaining 272 economic assistance jobs make the transition to state status Jan. 1

They've been under State management for a couple of years; the payroll-switch makes sense.

...The switch is expected to hit the county hard in the pocketbook. The state will no longer reimburse the county nearly $6 million a year to cover health and pension costs for the workers, as it has for the past 20 months under an unusual arrangement, according to a county staff memo.

Really?  The State will now absorb all the payroll costs, and the workers will not draw County retirement/health costs--so how, exactly, will it 'hit the the pocketbook'?

And there is the usual ululation.

...The workers whose jobs could disappear "feel very, very disrespected and marginalized by this process," Yunk said.

Vanessa Brown, a $40,000-a-year county economic assistance worker with more than 27 years on the job, said she had gotten no good answers from either the state or the county to a series of questions.

Among her concerns: whether she'll be able to invoke the county's "Rule of 75" permitting her to retire when her years on the job and age soon hit 75. The state doesn't have a similar benefit.

"I can assure you, I'm not working until I'm 65," Brown told members of the County Board's Health and Human Needs Committee. She said the response she'd gotten so far to her concerns had been, "So what."

Well, Vanessa, what else can be said?  You don't want to work to age 65. expect.....what, exactly?

Oh, there'll be more.

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