- Associated Press - Saturday, July 18, 2015

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Treasurer’s office mailed letters Friday to 949 state employees eligible for a retirement program that would pay them up to $15,000 in cash to retire this year.

Only 300 employees will be selected for the program and if more than 300 apply a lottery will be held to determine who will be able to take advantage of the program.

The program was passed by the Legislature in this year’s session. It is designed to reduce both state labor costs and help address a multi-million dollar budget deficit.

“I am pleased that we could work together to come up with a program that benefits employees and helps address current budget deficit concerns,” said state Treasurer Beth Pearce. “However, while the program does reduce labor costs in the short-term, to realize the full measure of the savings, the state must address long-term workforce issues.”

The plan was written by the Vermont State Employees Association, Treasurer’s office and the Administration of Gov. Peter Shumlin.

Executive branch employees who have worked for the state from five to 15 years would receive $750 per year of employment. Those with 15 years or more of service would be eligible for $1,000 per year they worked for the State.

The maximum payable under the incentive is $15,000. The incentive will be paid to recipients in two equal payments in fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

The retirements will become effective Oct. 1, 2015, but departments can stagger retirement dates to continue the normal operation of business. All retirements must be completed by March 1, 2016.

The deadline to apply is Aug. 31.

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