Shrinking Government Through Voluntary Attrition

Shrinking Government Through Voluntary Attrition

State governments across the country are facing budgetary challenges that are forcing them to make tough choices about spending priorities.  Fortunately the wave of retirements in the public sector is presenting policy makers and government HR practitioners with the opportunity to meet their budgetary challenges without laying off workers.

I’ve discussed before the importance of government managers breaking the paradigm of maintaining the status quo in their workforce and instead thinking strategically about their future workforce needs.  In the State of Nebraska one of our strategic objectives is to reduce government spending so that we can pass savings on to taxpayers.  This objective has become even more critical as State revenues have fallen below forecast.  Those diminishing revenues forced Governor Ricketts to implement a hiring freeze in October, 2016, which directed that only jobs deemed critical should be posted and filled.

In response to the Governor’s directive our agencies have responded, slashing our state government workforce by nearly 500 headcount and 1,500 positions and shrinking the overall size of state government by 3.5%.

Nebraska families have to live within their means and they expect there government to do the same.  By managing our personnel spend the Ricketts administration has been able to manage through reduced state revenues and shrink the size of government.  Policy makers and government HR practitioners in other states and local government subdivisions can follow this approach of leveraging voluntary attrition to reduce government and achieve their budget objectives.

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