At the same time, states have seen their budgets cut significantly, resulting in layoffs — often to those in middle management. And so the gap between highly experienced and those with less experience has only widened.
State personnel directors say it takes time to develop employees who can manage large groups. Batty told stateline.org that Oklahoma has already had a challenge finding people with supervisory experience who also possess the skills to step into specialized jobs that have opened up as a result of retirements — and that's been the case even when the budget hasn't been such a big concern.
“We've just had to consolidate those duties among other positions,” he said. “That's the part of knowledge transfer that to me is very scary.”
When the economy cranks up and the state can restore lopped services, we hope there are still some lights that can be left on as retirees shut the door on their way out. The watchword in state government for several years has been “employee furloughs.” Soon it may be “recruitment incentives.”