More than 2,600 state workers elected to retire from state service between January and Oct. 1, more than two-and-a-half times the number of retirements recorded last year at this time, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget office announced Tuesday.

The Office of Policy and Management reported, 2,628 retirements, well beyond the level originally projected by the administration when it announced a tentative concession deal with state employee unions back in May.

“Throughout the last 10 months, a much higher number of state employees than we had anticipated have chosen to retire,” OPM Secretary Benjamin Barnes said. “While the work they did was no doubt important, we have no intention of refilling a lot of these positions, and we’ll look to agency heads to figure out new and innovative ways to do more with less. These retirements have given us additional flexibility in our workforce, as we seek to streamline and flatten management and shrink the size of state government in Connecticut.”

Retirements are a crucial component of Malloy’s plans to save $700 million this fiscal year from the concession deal, which unions ratified in August.

State government had recorded 957 retirements through the first nine months of the 2010 calendar year. And Malloy officials originally said they hoped new limits on pension and other retirement benefits built into the concession deal and effective Oct. 1 of this year or later would increase retirements by at least 1,000 about 2010 levels.

Other key components of the concession plan include:

  • A two-year freeze on wages for most unionized employees.
  • Four years of protections against layoffs for all employees of bargaining units that accepted the wage freeze. Two units, representing state police troopers and correction officer supervisors, rejected the freeze.
  • Raises of 3 percent in each of the three years following the wage freeze for those units that forfeited raises this fiscal year and next.
  • A new wellness program that increases deductible and premium costs for employees and retirees who do not participate in regular health care screenings.
  • Labor-management initiatives tasked with finding more than $170 million in cost-savings this fiscal year in health care and technology programs and across state government in general.

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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