Launch Slideshow

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Picking up the Pieces

Picking up the Pieces

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Start succession planning now

If your department doesn’t have a succession plan (or one that you consider viable), it’s not alone.

“Eleven years after Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project reported on the silver tsunami [a wave of retirements beginning in 2011, when Baby Boomers began to turn 65], many in the public sector are still remarkably ill-prepared for the impending turnover in the workforce,” writes Heather Kerrigan in Governing’s December 2012 issue.

“Delayed retirements should have been an unanticipated grace period to engage in the kind of workforce planning state and local governments should have done years before. But the same economic turmoil also hampered their capacity to manage. Since seniority plays a role in determining who goes, younger employees who would have been promoted into the positions of retirement-eligible workers are, in a lot of places, gone. That leaves fewer employees to develop for vital positions.” (See sidebar below for a list of Public Works articles on succession planning.)

Two employees are retiring within the next three to four years. We should start looking ahead now. – Public works director serving a Massachusetts city of 5,000 making $50,001 - $55,000.

People are retiring at an alarming speed. First it was people who were happy but didn’t like our temporary offices when Hurricane Irene flooded us out one and a half years ago. Now it’s people who aren’t happy with the new work conditions (open space with short walls). – State of Vermont administrative support making $35,001 - $40,000.

If there’s one good piece of news, it’s this: The public works sector is starting to climb back to health. Stay tuned for next year.