buyouts

Tennessee launches $20M program for state employee buyouts

The state Capitol on March 16, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The state of Tennessee this week offered voluntary buyout offers to 625 employees working in 282 positions. The current budget includes $20 million for the program offering incentives for workers to give up their executive branch jobs.

The Human Resources Department says eligible positions were identified by job classification and that others may be targeted moving forward.

Gov. Bill Lee’s administration initially propped a $50 million pool to fund buyouts for state employees. Finance Commissioner Eley said the program
is roughly on par, when adjusted for inflation, with the $35 million in buyouts then-Gov. Phil Bredesen’s administration offered to government workers during the Great Recession, which he said resulted in about $65 million in recurring savings. But the Lee program was later dialed back to $20 million.

The Tennessean reports certain departments are being targeted reductions: 74 at Environment and Conservation, 64 in Human Services, 51 in Finance and Administration, and 32 in Education.