Nearly 2,000 former state employees who took the retirement incentive buyout are wondering, where’s the money? They’re waiting for a paycheck that is weeks away from being cut.
Former employees who took the buyout should have received their check in the mail by the end of July. Instead they got a letter, explaining why their first pension check would not arrive until the end of August.
"I feel badly that certain people are going to have to endure a hardship because of this," Deputy State Comptroller Mark Ojakian said. "We're working around the clock, as hard as we can to get as many people on the payroll as possible."
The problem isn’t a lack of money. It is a lack of resources. More than 3,800 people took the state’s retirement incentive buyout and more than half of them filed their application two weeks before the deadline.
The influx in applications overwhelmed the comptroller’s office and Ojakian's employees couldn’t process all the paperwork in time for the July 31 pay period.
"It just isn't humanly possible to do the kind of volume we've been asked to do," Ojakian said.
The governor’s office said the comptroller should have been better prepared, but Ojakian argues they did everything they could.
This isn’t the first time something like has happened. In 2003, more than 3,500 people filed applications in one month for the state’s early retirement buyout and it caused a similar type of backlog.
New retirees will not have any negative tax consequences because of this delay, Ojakian said.