Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/31/2009 08:00 AM House STATE AFFAIRS

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08:08:54 AM Start
08:09:18 AM HB157|| SB126
10:11:54 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 157(STA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HB 157-REEMPLOYMENT OF RETIREES; EXEMPT SERVICE                                                                               
[Contains brief mention of SB 126.]                                                                                             
8:09:18 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  announced that  the only order  of business  was HOUSE                                                              
BILL NO.  157, "An Act amending  the State Personnel Act  to place                                                              
in the  exempt service the  chief economist and  state comptroller                                                              
in the  Department of Revenue  and certain professional  positions                                                              
concerning  oil   and  gas  within   the  Department   of  Natural                                                              
Resources;  relating to  reemployment of  and benefits  for or  on                                                              
behalf  of reemployed  retired teachers  and  public employees  by                                                              
providing  for   an  effective   date  by  amending   the  delayed                                                              
effective date  for secs. 3,  5, 9, and 12,  ch. 57, SLA  2001 and                                                              
sec. 19, ch. 50, SLA 2005; and providing for an effective date."                                                                
8:09:50 AM                                                                                                                    
NICKI NEAL,  Director, Division  of Personnel  & Labor  Relations,                                                              
Department  of   Administration,  noted  that  the   division  had                                                              
provided  responses to the  committee's questions  after  the last                                                              
hearing on HB 157 [included in the committee packet].                                                                           
8:10:43 AM                                                                                                                    
GINGER  BLAISDELL,  Director,  Administrative  Services  Division,                                                              
directed attention  to the  last two  pages of the  aforementioned                                                              
responses, which  show statistics on retiree  positions statewide.                                                              
She pointed out  that at the beginning of the past  sunset period,                                                              
there  were  227  positions  that were  hired  under  the  retiree                                                              
waiver, and  that number has been  reduced to 124.  She  said that                                                              
is  a good  sign that  new employees  are being  brought into  the                                                              
system, and  the retiree  positions still  existing reflect  those                                                              
jobs where  there are  no other applicants  that meet  the minimum                                                              
qualifications or are able to take those jobs.                                                                                  
8:12:54 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BLAISDELL stated  that HB  157 combines  two subjects  within                                                              
the "personnel Act"  for the practical reason of  streamlining the                                                              
hearing  process  for the  legislature,  "as  well as  for  public                                                              
testimony."   She noted that the  two positions in  the Department                                                              
of  Revenue  and  23  positions   in  the  Department  of  Natural                                                              
Resources  are not  tied  to the  retire/rehire  provision of  the                                                              
bill.   Ms.  Blaisdell related  that if  the proposed  legislation                                                              
does  not   pass,  approximately   124  jobs  in   schools,  local                                                              
governments, courts,  and state offices will be left  vacant.  She                                                              
stated, "While  these individuals may  ... appear to  be receiving                                                              
additional  income, the  retirement  income is  earned income  and                                                              
would be  paid whether they [were]  paid in a  government position                                                              
or  in the  private  sector."   She  said a  retiree  can only  be                                                              
offered a job if there are not other qualified applicants.                                                                      
MS.  BLAISDELL  stated  that  the  23  professional  oil  and  gas                                                              
related  positions are  at  risk for  high  turnover, because  the                                                              
jobs are  temporary and  project-oriented, rather than  long-term.                                                              
If  a private  company  offers  these highly  skilled  individuals                                                              
similar pay, but  with longevity, it would be a  challenge for the                                                              
state to  retain them.   She said  turnover would be  unacceptable                                                              
during  the  state's efforts  in  natural  gas development.    She                                                              
stated, "There is  no fiscal impact to the status  change of these                                                              
positions, and the  risk of losing these professionals  is not one                                                              
the state should take."                                                                                                         
MS.  BLAISDELL warned  that  the  chief economist  position  would                                                              
remain   vacant   because   it  is   unattractive   to   qualified                                                              
candidates, given  its current  rate of pay.   The person  in this                                                              
position  is  responsible  for  the  revenue  forecast,  and  also                                                              
reviews a wide  variety of fiscal systems as  they impact Alaska's                                                              
interest  in the world.   Leaving  the position  vacant would  put                                                              
the  state at  a disadvantage  in  maximizing  opportunities in  a                                                              
global economy  and place the state  at risk for  lost opportunity                                                              
it can ill afford.                                                                                                              
MS. BLAISDELL,  regarding  the state comptroller,  said the  state                                                              
can only  hope that  the person  currently in  that position  will                                                              
remain, despite  the fact  that similar  positions in  the private                                                              
sector are  paid 20-30 percent more.   With the  position turnover                                                              
rate averaging  one per year, she  relayed, the learning  curve is                                                              
reliant  on  lower  level  staff,   and  the  state  cannot  "grow                                                              
positively in  its cash management  practices."  Longevity  in the                                                              
position  [of comptroller]  would  be of  benefit  to the  state's                                                              
MS. BLAISDELL  concluded by urging  the committee to pass  HB 157,                                                              
so  that  Alaska  can  progress  in  developing  a  gas  pipeline,                                                              
compete  in a  global economy,  educate  its children,  adequately                                                              
staff its  courts, and fill  other necessary positions  that would                                                              
otherwise be left vacant.                                                                                                       
CHAIR LYNN expressed  concern that the bill was  not heard earlier                                                              
so  that there  would be  enough time  to advance  it through  the                                                              
8:17:45 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAISDELL  stated  her belief  that HB 157  was introduced  at                                                              
the beginning  of session, but  that it has  been taking a  bit of                                                              
time to  get bills scheduled  for hearing.   She noted  that there                                                              
is  a  companion bill  in  the  Senate  which may  facilitate  the                                                              
legislation making it through the process.                                                                                      
CHAIR LYNN observed  that the bill was introduced  on February 27,                                                              
MS. BLAISDELL,  in response  to Chair Lynn,  said she  requested a                                                              
hearing on March 3.                                                                                                             
8:18:19 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said the  Alaska Legislative  Report, dated                                                              
February 6,  2009, [included in  the committee packet],  notes [on                                                              
page 8]  that 16 former state  employees were retired  between 1-6                                                              
months before  being rehired.   He asked  if the department  has a                                                              
further  breakdown  that shows  how  many  of those  were  rehired                                                              
within the first two months.                                                                                                    
8:19:15 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. NEAL  responded that  Representative  Seaton's staff  has made                                                              
that  inquiry,   and  currently  the  Division  of   Retirement  &                                                              
Benefits is looking for an answer.                                                                                              
8:20:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  remarked  that  only  80  percent  of  the                                                              
employers  required  to  do  so  have  forwarded  their  knowledge                                                              
transfer plans  to the Department  of Administration.  He  said he                                                              
wants  to  know  if  there  would   be  a  commitment  from  "your                                                              
division" to actively  pursue the implementation  of the knowledge                                                              
transfer  plans,  which  are  required  by  statute  from  "anyone                                                              
employed under this."                                                                                                           
8:21:36 AM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN BANKS,  Acting Director, Central  Office, Division of  Oil &                                                              
Gas,  Department of  Natural Resources  (DNR),  responded that  he                                                              
can gladly make  that commitment, but currently none  of the staff                                                              
in the Division of Oil & Gas are rehired retirees.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  clarified that  he wants a  commitment from                                                              
the  commissioners   of  all  applicable  departments   that  that                                                              
section of statute would be implemented.                                                                                        
8:22:19 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAISDELL suggested  that Ms. Neal, as the  person who reviews                                                              
all of the  knowledge transfer plans, could speak  specifically to                                                              
that issue.                                                                                                                     
8:22:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. NEALS  assured Representative Seaton  that "we do  follow up."                                                              
Currently, she reported,  only one knowledge plan  is lacking, and                                                              
she  indicated that  is being  addressed.   She  also assured  him                                                              
that  she  would follow  up  with  the  Division of  Retirement  &                                                              
Benefits as  it oversees the  receipt of knowledge  transfer plans                                                              
from other Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) employers.                                                                
8:23:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON  observed  that the  aforementioned  report                                                              
shows that there  were only five that did not  have that knowledge                                                              
transfer  plan, and  "evidently they've  picked up  four of  those                                                              
since then."                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAISDELL explained:                                                                                                        
     The  five positions  that show  that  they're missing  a                                                                   
     knowledge  transfer  plan came  from  school  districts.                                                                   
     And   what   Nicki   does   with   the   Department   of                                                                   
     Administration  is  she looks  at every  knowledge  plan                                                                   
     for  the state  agencies through  the executive  branch.                                                                   
     So, the  school districts  would have  to follow  up and                                                                   
     pursue their own.                                                                                                          
8:24:28 AM                                                                                                                    
CAROL   COMEAU,   Superintendent,   Anchorage   School   District,                                                              
testified in  support of HB 157.   She said the  district [rehires                                                              
retirees] minimally,  mostly in the area of special  education and                                                              
related services, and  in some cases when it  cannot find teachers                                                              
at  the high  school level  who have  the skills  to teach  higher                                                              
level math and  science.  She said these employees  are terminated                                                              
at the  end of  each school year  in order  to give preference  to                                                              
qualified applicants [who have not already retired].                                                                            
MS. COMEAU, in  response to a question from Chair  Lynn, regarding                                                              
whether  she likes  the bill  as  is, stated  support of  allowing                                                              
districts  and other state  agencies to  "use the  tool, but  on a                                                              
limited basis  where we  absolutely have to  prove that  there are                                                              
no viable applicants."                                                                                                          
8:26:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said  he   is  pleased  to  see  that  the                                                              
district  is  using   that  tool  judiciously.     He  noted  that                                                              
currently  there is  no limitation  on the  number of  applicants.                                                              
He  asked Ms.  Comeau  if she  would object  to  a provision  that                                                              
would limit use  of the retire/rehire tool to  situations in which                                                              
there were three or less qualified applicants."                                                                                 
8:27:36 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. COMEAU  responded that  that limitation  would not  be onerous                                                              
for  the Anchorage  School District,  because  it already  ensures                                                              
that there  are zero applicants  or, at  least, that if  there are                                                              
one or  two, those one  or two may  have paper credentials  but do                                                              
not meet the criteria in other ways.                                                                                            
8:28:10 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO,  regarding a case in which a  retiree has to                                                              
be  rehired, asked  how  long a  period  would  elapse before  the                                                              
MS. COMEAU responded  that the district usually  waits until after                                                              
the normal  hiring  season - late  spring to  right before  school                                                              
starts  -  and then  asks  the  rehire  to  apply for  a  one-year                                                              
contract.    She  stated,  "I  think   we've  made  it  work  very                                                              
successfully for the last many years."                                                                                          
8:29:06 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN  noted that  his program started  in 2001,                                                              
and  he asked  Ms. Comeau  what  the longest  period of  continual                                                              
time is in which a retiree has been rehired.                                                                                    
8:29:33 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. COMEAU said  she does not know, but speculated  that there are                                                              
not many who "continue employment since the bill began."                                                                        
8:29:56 AM                                                                                                                    
AGNES  MORAN  told the  committee  that  she  is testifying  as  a                                                              
parent  in support  of  HB 157.    She related  that  her son  was                                                              
involved in  a special  education program for  six years,  and she                                                              
knows how  important it is  for the rural  schools to  have access                                                              
to experienced educators  who are available locally  and have made                                                              
a  commitment  to  remain  in Alaska.    Although  the  number  of                                                              
participants  in  the retiree  rehire  program may  appear  small,                                                              
their impact on  the community is large, she opined.   Many of the                                                              
rehired retirees  are certified  in special  education fields  and                                                              
work  not only  with  students directly,  but  also with  parents,                                                              
families, and other  educators.  She said she  thinks these people                                                              
are sometimes viewed  as barriers, but for the parents  of a child                                                              
with special  needs, these  people are viewed  as "bridges."   Ms.                                                              
Moran indicated  that the  legislative report  shows that  most of                                                              
the schools that  are listed as having rehired  retirees also have                                                              
current  openings.    She  asked  the  committee  to  support  the                                                              
proposed legislation.                                                                                                           
8:31:20 AM                                                                                                                    
HANNAH RAMISKEY,  Ketchikan Charter  School (KCS),  said she  is a                                                              
grandparent  of a  child in  the  Ketchikan Charter  School.   She                                                              
noted that materials  related to SB 126 show that  Ketchikan had a                                                              
custodian   who  was  a   rehired  retiree.     She   subsequently                                                              
discovered that  about three years  ago, that custodian  was hired                                                              
just until  someone else was found  to fill the role.   She stated                                                              
concern that the list may not be completely accurate.                                                                           
MS. RAMISKEY  said KCS had a  superintendent who retired,  KCS was                                                              
without  a  qualified  principal,  and  there  were  two  sessions                                                              
during  which  the  school  "fell  apart."    Ms.  Ramiskey  added                                                              
further details.   Mr. Martin, she  said, agreed to come  back and                                                              
work  for the  charter school.    She relayed  that he  is at  the                                                              
lowest  rung  of the  pay  scale  of administrator  and  does  not                                                              
accrue  benefits toward  his retirement.   The  school is  running                                                              
smoothly;  its students  are  "80  percent proficient  across  the                                                              
MS. RAMISKEY related  another incident in which a woman  who was a                                                              
reading specialist  left her job to  tend to her husband,  who had                                                              
cancer.   When  her husband  died,  she was  rehired  in the  same                                                              
position.    Ms.  Ramiskey  remarked  that  there  were  no  other                                                              
applicants  to take  that  position.   She  stated  that in  small                                                              
towns and  places that get  so much rain in  a year's time,  it is                                                              
often  difficult  to find  qualified  applicants;  therefore,  "we                                                              
really need  the opportunity to hire  the best for our  kids."  In                                                              
response  to  Representative   Gatto,  she  said   there  are  180                                                              
students in the Ketchikan Charter School.                                                                                       
8:34:31 AM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  HULL  said  he  is a  20-year  retiree  from  the  City  of                                                              
Ketchikan Fire  Department and currently  works as the  fire chief                                                              
for  the  North  Tongass Volunteer  Fire  Department  through  the                                                              
Ketchikan  Gateway  Borough.     He  said  the  bill  affects  him                                                              
personally.    He warned  that  as  of  January  1, 2009,  if  the                                                              
deadline  is not  extended,  the service  areas  of North  Tongass                                                              
Fire  & EMS  [emergency medical  service]  will be  at a  distinct                                                              
disadvantage if there  is a need to hire experienced  help for the                                                              
leadership  role that  a chief  holds in  a fire  department.   He                                                              
related that he  has held his current position since  May 2004 and                                                              
would like  to stay.   He  stated, "It  should be understood  that                                                              
...  the ability  for a  retiree  to be  able to  hold onto  their                                                              
retirement benefits and  work in a situation like  this is akin to                                                              
providing  a level  playing field  for the small  kids versus  the                                                              
big  kids when  it comes  for a  competition  to hire  experienced                                                              
MR.  HULL related  that  the  Ketchikan  Airport recently  lost  a                                                              
highly experienced  police chief  who was  in a situation  similar                                                              
to Mr.  Hull's.   He noted that  the position  of police  chief at                                                              
the  airport remains  unfilled, and  [those in  charge of  airport                                                              
security] have been  forced to work with the  police department of                                                              
the City of Ketchikan  in order to maintain a police  force at the                                                              
airport.   He opined  that the benefit  of extending  the deadline                                                              
probably  far  outweighs  any detriment.    He  acknowledged  that                                                              
there  is a fiscal  impact, but  asked the  committee to  consider                                                              
what  it would  be  doing for  the  smaller departments  that  are                                                              
trying desperately to compete for quality help.                                                                                 
MR. HULL,  in response  to a question  from Representative  Gatto,                                                              
estimated  that his  current rate  of pay  is $71,000.   He  added                                                              
that the  fire chief for the  City of Ketchikan, who  was recently                                                              
hired is paid over $100,000.                                                                                                    
8:37:42 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BLAISDELL,  in response to Representative  Gruenberg, recalled                                                              
that  he had  discussed  the  definition  of "special  inquiry"  -                                                              
found in AS 39.25.110(9)  - with Kevin Banks,  the acting director                                                              
of the Division  of Oil & Gas.   For Mr. Banks' benefit,  and upon                                                              
the  suggestion   of  Representative   Gruenberg,  she   read  the                                                              
[second] paragraph  of a memorandum from Dan  Wayne of Legislative                                                              
Legal and  Research Services, dated  March 31, 2009,  [included in                                                              
the committee packet], which read as follows:                                                                                   
     "Special Inquiry."   The term  "special inquiry"  is not                                                               
     defined  by  state statute  or  regulation,  and in  the                                                                   
     time available  to respond to  your request I  am unable                                                                   
     to  determine  whether  it  applied  uniformly,  in  the                                                                   
     context  of the  exempt service  or  any other  context,                                                                   
     throughout  the   agencies  of  the  state's   executive                                                                   
8:39:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  observed  that  in  the  aforementioned                                                              
paragraph of  the memorandum, the  word "s" should  appear between                                                              
"it" and "applied."   He stated  that [the term] is an  issue that                                                              
is central  to Sections 1  and 2 of the  bill, and he  opined that                                                              
the legislature  should  define it.   He said  he wonders  whether                                                              
the executive  branch might work  with the legislature to  draft a                                                              
8:40:39 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BLAISDELL responded  that  she thinks  it  would probably  be                                                              
okay  that efforts  be made  to define  the term.   She  clarified                                                              
that "special  inquiry" applies to  Section 1, which relates  to a                                                              
position  within the Department  of Natural  Resources; Section  2                                                              
addresses   the   positions   of   chief   economist   and   state                                                              
comptroller, which do not fall under special inquiry.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said  he would  like a  message sent  to                                                              
the  executive branch  regarding  this  issue, and  he  questioned                                                              
whether  the  definition   should  be  made  through   statute  or                                                              
CHAIR LYNN said that would be fine.                                                                                             
8:42:26 AM                                                                                                                    
BARB  ANGAIAK, President,  National  Education  Association-Alaska                                                              
(NEA-Alaska),  emphasized  the  importance  of  interpretation  of                                                              
language.   She said the term,  "hard to fill position,"  has been                                                              
broadened to  include all positions  in a job category,  including                                                              
some positions that  perhaps are not hard to fill,  which she said                                                              
is  problematic.     She  offered   the  following   positions  as                                                              
examples:   middle  school  physical  education teacher  and  high                                                              
school  counselor.    She  expressed   her  appreciation  for  Ms.                                                              
Cuomo's previous  statement that the district is  careful to limit                                                              
its hiring  of retirees only to  those positions that are  hard to                                                              
fill, but she said  the problem is that there has  been some abuse                                                              
of the rehiring of retirees.                                                                                                    
MS. ANGAIAK  opined that there  is no need  to extend  the sunset;                                                              
if there are people  who are retired who can fill  a position that                                                              
could not  be filled  otherwise, those people  can come  back into                                                              
employment,  "but not  draw down  on ... a  retirement benefit  at                                                              
the same time."   She concluded that NEA-Alaska would  like to see                                                              
the sunset happen.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO asked  Ms. Angaiak  if she  has examples  in                                                              
which  minimally  qualified  applicants  were  available  but  the                                                              
position was instead given to a rehired retiree.                                                                                
MS. ANGAIAK answered no.                                                                                                        
8:45:47 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  said  Ms.  Angaiak  had  remarked  that                                                              
sometimes  people are  brought back  for no  special reason,  when                                                              
there  are   other  qualified   people  around.     He   said  the                                                              
aforementioned statute  is in the  public employee section,  it is                                                              
not in Title  14.  He asked  Ms. Angaiak what the  legal authority                                                              
is that she was discussing.                                                                                                     
MS. ANGAIAK  said she  had been  referencing "the  interpretation,                                                              
generally,  of  language,"  which  she  said  is  used  to  rehire                                                              
retired   teachers  and   retired  administrators.     The   terms                                                              
"teacher"  and  "administrator"   have  been  broadened,  in  some                                                              
cases,  to include  people who  do not  represent what  NEA-Alaska                                                              
believes  constitute  truly  "hard-to-fill   positions,"  such  as                                                              
specialists and special education teachers.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said he understands what  Ms. Angaiak is                                                              
saying, but  explained that it is  difficult to address  the issue                                                              
through   concept  alone,   with  no   particular  statute   being                                                              
MS. ANGAIAK  clarified that she  is talking about  the definitions                                                              
in   statute   that   outline  how   to   define   "teacher"   and                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said he  would like Ms.  Angaiak's staff                                                              
to look  at specific statutes  with him.   He said the  wording of                                                              
the bill is confusing.                                                                                                          
8:48:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON offered  his  understanding  that the  data                                                              
shows there have  been 58 [rehired retirees] within  the Teachers'                                                              
Retirement  System (TRS)  across the  state, which  he said  seems                                                              
like  a restricted  amount,  even though  currently  there are  no                                                              
parameters for  rehiring retirees  in TRS.   He asked  Ms. Angaiak                                                              
if she would support  a restriction similar to that  in PERS, such                                                              
that there  could be  no more than  three qualified  applicants to                                                              
be able to  even consider rehiring  a retiree.  He noted  that the                                                              
restriction  would  be set  "by  particular job,  not  by a  broad                                                              
8:50:20 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. ANGAIAK  responded that  [some kind  of restriction]  would be                                                              
better; however, she would still be opposed to the bill.                                                                        
8:50:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  observed that out  of the many  teachers in                                                              
the  Anchorage School  System,  only  11 [are  rehired  retirees].                                                              
Lower  Kuskokwim,  on the  other  hand, has  36.    She said  that                                                              
number seems high,  but she realizes that that  district is remote                                                              
and  she does  not know  how  the living  conditions  are for  the                                                              
teachers there.   Furthermore, she said she does not  know how big                                                              
the Lower  Kuskokwim School  District is  to be  able to  make any                                                              
comparison  to the  district in  Anchorage.   She  noted that  Ms.                                                              
Angaiak had  used the term, "hard-to-fill,"  and she asked  her if                                                              
she agrees  that sometimes the location  of the school  would make                                                              
a difference.                                                                                                                   
8:51:57 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. ANGAIAK  responded that  the Lower  Kuskokwim School  District                                                              
has  approximately 3,300  students,  about 350  teachers, and  has                                                              
some very  remote locations.   She offered her understanding  that                                                              
"the  larger  number out  of"  the  36  rehired retirees  in  that                                                              
school  district  are located  in  the  hub community  of  Bethel;                                                              
therefore,  the  hardship  of  living  in  a  rural  community  is                                                              
minimal.    She added  that  she  is  from  Bethel.   Ms.  Angaiak                                                              
concurred  that  in  some  cases  it is  more  difficult  to  fill                                                              
positions in rural  Alaska.  However, she said  she maintains that                                                              
if  there  are people  who  wish  to continue  teaching  or  being                                                              
administrators,  they can  do that  through  the regular  channels                                                              
and not be  drawing retirement at  the same time they  are drawing                                                              
a salary.                                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON   asked,  "Are  there  several   that  have                                                              
continued the whole time that this program has been in effect?"                                                                 
MS. ANGAIAK answered yes.                                                                                                       
8:53:29 AM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE  JOHNSON,  Member,  Association   of  Alaska  School  Boards                                                              
(AASB),  stated that  AASB supports  the extension  of the  sunset                                                              
proposed  in  HB  157.    Mr.  Johnson  related  that  he  is  the                                                              
principle individual  involved in  superintendent searches.   Most                                                              
of  the  superintendents  hired  new  to  Alaska  are  retired  in                                                              
another state.   Currently, in Chevak, two of  the three finalists                                                              
are retirees  - one from in-state  and one from out-of-state.   He                                                              
said  AASB  encourages  new  blood,  because  it is  in  the  best                                                              
interest of the  school systems.  He said he senses  that "we have                                                              
been  using  this  judiciously,"   and  he  noted  that  there  is                                                              
oversight from [the Division of Retirement & Benefits].                                                                         
MR. JOHNSON  stated  that there  are 24-25 school  sites in  Lower                                                              
Kuskokwim,  four or  five of which  are located  in Bethel,  while                                                              
the rest  are in individual  villages.   He said those  are remote                                                              
places.   He reported  that  there is  a lot of  turnover in  that                                                              
district;  recruitment  is done  on  an annual  basis  nationwide.                                                              
Furthermore,  the district  is  making remarkable  progress  "with                                                              
achievement";  therefore,   the  system  in  place   seems  to  be                                                              
producing decent results, he noted.                                                                                             
MR. JOHNSON  stated that  considering the fact  that less  than 80                                                              
positions  out of  several  thousand  are "tied  up  in this,"  he                                                              
thinks "it's  an appropriate tool."   He encouraged  the committee                                                              
to "continue this opportunity as a tool."                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO asked  Mr.  Johnson if  he is  saying he  is                                                              
relying on what is better for students in his analysis.                                                                         
MR.  JOHNSON responded  in  the affirmative.    He expounded  that                                                              
AABS  does not  select superintendents  - the  local school  board                                                              
does - but  it facilitates the process.   In all cases,  he noted,                                                              
AASB  asks  [applicants]  to  identify the  kinds  of  skills  and                                                              
qualifications that  they feel meet  their particular  needs, "and                                                              
that  references  students,  in  terms  of  moving  this  district                                                              
forward  on behalf  of students."    He indicated  that AASB  asks                                                              
[the  local school  boards] to  evaluate files  according to  that                                                              
applicant  file.    In  response  to  a  follow-up  question  from                                                              
Representative  Gatto,  Mr.  Johnson   said  the  Lower  Kuskokwim                                                              
School District  is making progress  after being "pretty  flat for                                                              
a long period  of time."  He  added, "And, of course,  we know ...                                                              
their principle  site administrators  and  the teaching staff  are                                                              
the key ingredients to making that happen."                                                                                     
8:57:26 AM                                                                                                                    
PETE  FORD, Southeast  Regional Manager,  Alaska Public  Employees                                                              
Association (APEA),  told the committee  that APEA is  a primarily                                                              
public labor  union that represents  about 8,000  active employees                                                              
in the  state and close  to 2,000  retirees.  Approximately  2,000                                                              
of  APEA's members  are  state employees  in  the supervisory  and                                                              
confidential  unit, while  most  of the  others  are employees  of                                                              
local  jurisdictions   -  cities,   boroughs,  and  some   in  the                                                              
university system.                                                                                                              
MR. FORD  stated, "We are  opposed to all  three portions  of this                                                              
bill."    Regarding  the  portion   of  the  bill  addressing  the                                                              
Department of Natural  Resources, he said APEA has  been unable to                                                              
get  definitive information  regarding the  positions within  DNR,                                                              
other than  the fact that  they are highly specialized  positions.                                                              
He  said APEA's  best understanding  is  that while  the DNR  jobs                                                              
involve a  high degree of  specialization and expertise,  they are                                                              
policy-implementing  not  policy-making  positions.    Because  of                                                              
that,  he said,  APEA thinks  the  position probably  ought to  be                                                              
part of  the classified  service and  not exempt.   Mr.  Ford said                                                              
APEA has  philosophical  problems with  the idea  that a job  that                                                              
has been  in existence for at  least four years and  is apparently                                                              
anticipated  to continue in  existence for  some time  is regarded                                                              
as a  temporary job,  rather than  a regular  or career-type  job.                                                              
He  opined that  that  seems  to diminish  both  the  job and  the                                                              
people  who  are  providing  that   service  to  the  state.    He                                                              
explained that  an on-going  service ought to  be recognized  as a                                                              
career-type position.                                                                                                           
8:59:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. FORD  next addressed the  two positions within  the Department                                                              
of Revenue.  He  noted that the comptroller position  is already a                                                              
partially   exempt  (PX)   position,  and   the  state  has   some                                                              
substantial  degree of  flexibility  in the  way  it might  manage                                                              
that position.   The [chief  economist] position is  a supervisory                                                              
unit (SU)  position that  recently went through  reclassification.                                                              
The  position was  upgraded to  a  grade 26.   He  noted that  the                                                              
committee was  given a reclassification  package, which  indicates                                                              
that  monetary issues  are  not  where the  recruiting  challenges                                                              
exist.   He stated, "It  seems to us  that that position  has been                                                              
well  addressed and  ought  not be  changed  in any  way.   Again,                                                              
while this is  a highly specialized, expert-driven  position, it's                                                              
not, as  we understand  it, a  position that  makes policy,  but a                                                              
position that  implements policy  and, therefore, a  position that                                                              
ought  to have  the  protection of  civil  service and  bargaining                                                              
unit representation."                                                                                                           
MR. FORD continued as follows:                                                                                                  
     With respect  to the retiree  program, again, this  is a                                                                   
     program  that's  already  been in  existence  for  eight                                                                   
     years.    That  seems  like   ample  time  ...  for  the                                                                   
     transition  and the  change  of institutional  knowledge                                                                   
     to have  taken place.   And while admittedly,  there are                                                                   
     probably  some  occasional  exceptions,  in  general,  I                                                                   
     think the cost  that's being paid by  rehire/retirees in                                                                   
     allowing them  to receive double payment  for performing                                                                   
     one job  is taking a real toll  in the state and  in the                                                                   
     agencies by  the fact that it suppresses the  careers of                                                                   
     younger  ... employees  and stops them  from being  able                                                                   
     to move up.  A cork is stuck in the bottle.                                                                                
MR. FORD said he  is personally familiar with at  least six people                                                              
in the state  who have left  state employment because of  the fact                                                              
that their  careers  were being  suppressed by  a retiree  who was                                                              
back  in the  position the  retiree  previously held.   He  opined                                                              
that rehiring retirees is not the best way to promote change.                                                                   
9:02:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON said  it  sounds like  part  of Mr.  Ford's                                                              
objection is  that retirees should  not be "double dipping."   She                                                              
asked  what his  opinion  would be  if the  retiree  were to  come                                                              
back, but was only paid salary, not salary with retirement.                                                                     
MR.  FORD  said   he  thinks  that  would  certainly   change  the                                                              
character  of  the  plan  and  make  it  more  palatable,  because                                                              
neither the  monetary reward nor  the opportunity  for substantial                                                              
discrepancy in  pay would exist.   He said  it would  still remain                                                              
for  the  state to  address  appropriate  levels  of pay  for  the                                                              
positions and  make those  adjustments, which  he said would  be a                                                              
much more permanent and satisfactory resolution situation.                                                                      
9:03:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO expressed  concern with  the phrase  "double                                                              
pay for doing  one job."  He  asked Mr. Ford if he  would consider                                                              
it  double  pay  for  a  retiree   from  another  state,  who  was                                                              
receiving a pension from that state, to take a job in Alaska.                                                                   
MR.  FORD replied  that  to some  degree that  is  a variation  of                                                              
"double  pay" while  not being  a direct  application that  exists                                                              
when both  the pension and the  new job salary are  being supplied                                                              
by  the same  employer,  which he  opined hurts  the  rest of  the                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO expressed  his  confusion.   He described  a                                                              
situation in  which one retiree  comes from  a Lower 48  state and                                                              
gets a  job in Alaska,  while another  retiree leaves  Alaska, and                                                              
gets a job  in that person's state.   He asked, "Does  that make a                                                              
difference?  Or  should they both stay in their  position and then                                                              
be  criticized,  or  should  they  both switch  and  then  not  be                                                              
MR.  FORD responded  that the  primary difference  is that  Alaska                                                              
has no control over  a retiree coming from another  state, but has                                                              
control within the  state and its own employment  environment.  He                                                              
said if  the problem  is that  the position  is not  appropriately                                                              
paid, then that is the correction that needs to be made.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  asked  if  Mr. Ford,  during  his  comments                                                              
about the DNR position,  meant to say that only the  top person in                                                              
any  department is  the  policy  maker while  everyone  else is  a                                                              
policy implementer.                                                                                                             
MR.  FORD answered  yes.   He said  as he  understands the  public                                                              
employee relations  law and the  classification system  within the                                                              
state, there  is an  upper tier of  state management  comprised of                                                              
elected officials  and high  political appointees  who are  policy                                                              
makers.   Certainly those individuals  will seek input  from their                                                              
staff, but the policy decisions will be made by that upper tier.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  posed the idea that the  chief economist may                                                              
be at  least as  valuable as  the director,  because the  director                                                              
needs  to  rely  on the  chief  economist's  wisdom  to  formulate                                                              
9:07:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  FORD responded  that  the  chief  economist is  certainly  as                                                              
valuable as  the director because  he/she is making  a significant                                                              
contribution;  however,  that  contribution  is  in  the  area  of                                                              
technical and expert  knowledge that is provided  to the director,                                                              
who then develops the policy.                                                                                                   
9:07:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  noted that he  had retired  from the school  system in                                                              
California and began  working in the school system  in Alaska.  He                                                              
said,  "When  I  retired  and  came  back  on  board,  I  lost  my                                                              
retirement pay.   The good news  was when I finally did  retire, I                                                              
almost doubled my retirement pay."                                                                                              
9:08:35 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  said it  seems Mr. Ford is  discriminating                                                              
against Alaskans  when he  differentiates between hiring  retirees                                                              
from the Lower 48  for jobs in Alaska versus  hiring retirees from                                                              
MR. FORD  noted that there  are some other  states that  would not                                                              
allow  a  retiree  to draw  retirement  from  those  states  while                                                              
working  for  Alaska.   Nevada,  for  example,  monitors  people's                                                              
income  and adjusts  their pension  based  on what  they might  be                                                              
earning even though  they are technically retired  from the state.                                                              
He  said  he supposes  there  could  be  some kind  of  equalizing                                                              
national policy.   He said he  cannot see this  as discrimination,                                                              
because  it is not  something over  which the  state has  control.                                                              
He said  it seems  to him  that within  the state, an  undesirable                                                              
situation is being  created by allowing a person to  "use a unique                                                              
technique  after having  been around  awhile" to  "ratchet" a  job                                                              
valued at a certain amount to three times that amount.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  responded,  "The  fact  that  we're  here                                                              
indicates  to me  that we do  have control  over  it."  Asked  Mr.                                                              
Ford if he knows  of any states other than Nevada  that "cap" what                                                              
a person can make [when retired].                                                                                               
MR. FORD  answered that he  does not.   He added, "My  familiarity                                                              
with Nevada  is about nine  years old,  but that was  the practice                                                              
when I was there."                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON responded:                                                                                               
     So,  ... Nevada  caps your  retirement, and  so, ...  if                                                                   
     you were to  go to work even outside the  public sector,                                                                   
     ...  you  retirement's  capped.   It's  counting  social                                                                   
     security if  you're adjusted by  your revenue.   Is that                                                                   
     your understanding of their system?                                                                                        
MR. FORD  answered that  to his understanding  that is  the method                                                              
by which Nevada manages its retirement pension program.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  remarked, "That seems to me  like we might                                                              
... be on to something."                                                                                                        
9:11:46 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG directed  attention to  page 2,  line 9,                                                              
and  noted  that  the  language   there  would  exempt  the  chief                                                              
economist  and the state  comptroller.   He asked  Mr. Ford  if he                                                              
believes  that the  state  comptroller  is properly  exempted  and                                                              
should  be  left  so,  while  the   chief  economist  position  is                                                              
removed, and thus not exempted.                                                                                                 
MR. FORD  responded  that that would  be more  palatable to  APEA.                                                              
He reiterated  his  understanding that  currently the  comptroller                                                              
is a PX position;  therefore, the change that takes  place if that                                                              
position  becomes  exempt  would   be  less  dramatic  than  if  a                                                              
classified position becomes exempt.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG,   in    response   to   Representative                                                              
Johnson's previous  line of questioning, he said it  seems that if                                                              
the state  does not  allow local  people to  be rehired,  but does                                                              
allow [retirees]  from out of state  to be rehired, that  would be                                                              
poor public policy and would discriminate against Alaskans.                                                                     
MR.  FORD agreed  that that  would be  an undesired  result.   The                                                              
best  result, he  said,  would be  to help  build  the careers  of                                                              
younger people.   He stated, "I'm not sure that  we're well-served                                                              
by having  folks from other states  who aren't that  familiar with                                                              
Alaska anyway  come to Alaska and  take key positions,  but that's                                                              
usually not my decision to make."                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG pondered  how  it would  be possible  to                                                              
keep  those  out-of-state  retirees  from  coming  to  Alaska  and                                                              
getting hired by the State of Alaska.                                                                                           
9:14:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PETERSEN asked Mr.  Ford if  he believes  that the                                                              
retire/rehire  exemption is  being used  as an  inducement to  get                                                              
certain  retirees to  come back  to  their old  position with  the                                                              
promise of  being able  to "double  dip," or  if the situation  is                                                              
just  that the  State  of Alaska  is in  a  difficult position  of                                                              
having  to hire  specialized positions  with a  limited number  of                                                              
qualified candidates available.                                                                                                 
MR.  FORD  replied  that  he is  sure  there  are  instances  when                                                              
recruiting has been  difficult, but he also knows  that "abuse has                                                              
taken place."                                                                                                                   
9:16:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  said  he  used  the  term  discrimination                                                              
intentionally because  that is what he  believes it is.   He asked                                                              
Mr.  Ford  whether   or  not  he  would  agree  that   it  is  the                                                              
responsibility of  the state and  its departments to put  the most                                                              
qualified  person  in the  job,  whether  or  not that  person  is                                                              
promoted from within,  retired from Massachusetts,  or an existing                                                              
employee  that is  going  to be  serving  under the  retire/rehire                                                              
MR.  FORD affirmed  his  belief  that  the most  qualified  person                                                              
ought to be the person hired.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON asked  Mr.  Ford if  that  means he  would                                                              
support  a   rehired  retiree,  if   that  person  was   the  most                                                              
MR. FORD responded as follows:                                                                                                  
     I  would  initially  presume   that  an  individual  who                                                                   
     retires  is retiring; they're  not posturing  themselves                                                                   
     in  order to  enrich themselves  at the  expense of  the                                                                   
     state.   And if an individual  opts to use that  kind of                                                                   
     a  technique, it  seems to  me that the  state needs  to                                                                   
     look  kind   of  skeptically  at  that.     And  I  also                                                                   
     recognize   that   qualification   is   very   often   a                                                                   
     subjective  judgment,  and that  somebody  who may  look                                                                   
     very good  on paper or  who has sat  in the chair  for a                                                                   
     very  long time, isn't  necessarily  the best person  to                                                                   
     be holding  that position  in the future.   It  seems to                                                                   
     me  there  ought  to  be  some   integrity,  I  suppose,                                                                   
     associated  with the decision  to retire, and  that that                                                                   
     decision ought not be a technique for enrichment.                                                                          
9:18:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO   questioned  whether  "enrichment   at  the                                                              
expense of the state" isn't just what the free market is.                                                                       
MR. FORD  said he does  not understand  state employment  as being                                                              
part  of the  free market.   The  laws  of the  state provide  for                                                              
classification  of the overwhelming  majority of state  positions,                                                              
and  those  classification  decisions  create a  plan  within  the                                                              
state  so that  all  positions -  particularly  in the  classified                                                              
service - are  appropriately defined and compensated.   He said he                                                              
sees it  as enrichment  that an  individual would "circumvent  and                                                              
trick the classification  system by retiring and  then coming back                                                              
into a  classified  position, but  also having  the state  pay for                                                              
retirement,  when in  fact the  person  is not  retired and  their                                                              
career is not concluded."                                                                                                       
9:19:43 AM                                                                                                                    
KATHIE  WASSERMAN,  Executive Director,  Alaska  Municipal  League                                                              
(AML),  stated  that AML  has  not taken  up  the  subject of  the                                                              
proposed  bill "on the  whole," but  she said  she has  called the                                                              
municipalities   that  rehire   retirees   and   will  echo   [Mr.                                                              
Johnson's]  previous  remark  that  "this  is a  tool  that  these                                                              
communities  have used."   The further  off the  road system,  the                                                              
more difficult  it is  for communities  to hire certified  people;                                                              
it is much  easier for those  communities if they have  the option                                                              
to rehire retired  people.  She said her purpose  in testifying is                                                              
to  speak for  those  who "use  this  tool and  feel  it's a  very                                                              
valuable one."   She said  she thinks the  numbers show  that this                                                              
system has not been overused in these communities.                                                                              
CHAIR LYNN  remarked that it  is not only  employers that  can use                                                              
this tool; employees  can "use it as a tool to  essentially double                                                              
their income."                                                                                                                  
MS. WASSERMAN responded  that she thinks Chair Lynn  is right, but                                                              
challenged  him to prevent  that from  happening "anywhere  around                                                              
the world."                                                                                                                     
9:21:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN closed public testimony.                                                                                             
9:21:55 AM                                                                                                                    
PAT   SHIER,  Director,   Division  of   Retirement  &   Benefits,                                                              
Department    of   Administration    (DOA),    in   response    to                                                              
Representative  Seaton's previous  question  regarding the  timing                                                              
of retirees'  return  to the work  force, noted  that one  retiree                                                              
returned 30  days after retirement  and 11 returned after  a range                                                              
of 30-60  days.   In response  to a  question from  Representative                                                              
Johnson regarding  the proportion  of retirees  being rehired,  he                                                              
noted  that the  division  typically processes  between  750-1,100                                                              
retirements a  year.  If all  those retirees had returned  to work                                                              
in the same year  - which is unlikely - "it would  be a very small                                                              
percentage, indeed."                                                                                                            
9:23:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON noted  that  page 8  of the  aforementioned                                                              
legislative  report  shows that  [60]  retirees  of the  State  of                                                              
Alaska  were rehired,  and  about one-fifth  of  those were  hired                                                              
back within two months.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON said he appreciates that, but pointed out                                                                
that "as a percentage of the total retirees, we're talking about                                                                
a minimal number of people."                                                                                                    
9:24:53 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved to adopt Amendment 1, labeled 26-                                                                   
GH1035\A.1, Wayne, 3/28/09, which read as follows [original                                                                     
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Page 1, line 5:                                                                                                            
         Delete "by providing for an effective date by"                                                                       
          Insert ";"                                                                                                          
     Page 2, following line 10:                                                                                                 
          Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                    
        "* Sec. 3. AS 39.35.150(h) is amended to read:                                                                      
          (h)  Notwithstanding (b) of this section, an                                                                          
     employer  in the  executive branch  of state  government                                                                   
     may not  allow a  member hired to  fill a position  that                                                                   
     requires  recruitment to make  the election provided  in                                                                   
     (b) of this section unless                                                                                                 
               (1)  the employer conducted an initial                                                                           
     recruitment  for at least  15 days  for the position  to                                                                   
     be filled  by the  member making  an election under  (b)                                                                   
     of  this  section  that resulted  in  fewer  than  three                                                               
     [FIVE]  qualified, eligible,  and available  applicants,                                                                   
     including the retired member; and                                                                                          
               (2)  the employer then conducted an                                                                              
     additional  recruitment and  the additional  recruitment                                                                   
     resulted   in  fewer   than   three  [FIVE]   qualified,                                                               
     eligible,  and   available  applicants,   including  the                                                                   
     retired  member;  this  additional   recruitment  period                                                                   
     added  to the  initial  recruitment  period  must be  at                                                                   
     least 30 days total."                                                                                                      
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
     Page 2, line 25:                                                                                                           
          Delete "secs. 3, 4, 7, and 8"                                                                                         
          Insert "secs. 4, 5, 8, and 9"                                                                                         
     Page 2, line 26:                                                                                                           
          Delete "secs. 3, 4, 7, and 8"                                                                                         
          Insert "secs. 4, 5, 8, and 9"                                                                                         
9:24:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG objected.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  explained that he would like  the number of                                                              
qualifying applicants  reduced to three before a  retiree could be                                                              
considered  as one  of  the applicants  for  rehire, because  when                                                              
there  are five  - four others  besides  the retiree  - that  is a                                                              
large pool from which to choose.                                                                                                
9:26:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  initiated   the  topic  of  the  proposed                                                              
deletion of the  effective date and Sections  3, 4, 7, and  8.  In                                                              
response to a request, he yielded to Representative Gruenberg.                                                                  
9:27:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said he is confused by Amendment  1.  He                                                              
remarked  that the  language in  Amendment 1  proposing to  delete                                                              
the  effective  date does  not  relate  to  anything else  in  the                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said he  does  not  know why  the  drafter                                                              
included that language in the amendment.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  said furthermore  all  the language  in                                                              
Amendment  1  proposing  to  delete  lines 3,4,7,  and  8  do  not                                                              
correspond with the bill.                                                                                                       
9:28:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  moved to adopt Amendment 1  to Amendment 1,                                                              
such that  the only  remaining language  in Amendment  1 would  be                                                              
the proposed  insertion of Section  3.  There being  no objection,                                                              
Amendment 1 to Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON said that answers his concern.                                                                           
9:29:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  how  Representative Seaton  would                                                              
feel   about  deleting   "in  the   executive   branch  of   state                                                              
government"  from  the  remaining  language in  Amendment  1,  [as                                                              
amended].   In response  to Representative  Johnson, he  confirmed                                                              
that  his intent  is that  Amendment  1, as  amended, would  cover                                                              
every branch of government, not just the executive branch.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  stated that the intent of  the amendment is                                                              
to cover  PERS employees;  it is  not intended  to cover  only the                                                              
executive branch.   He  apologized for not  having time  to review                                                              
the  amendment before  bringing it  before the  committee, and  he                                                              
said he would not  have any objection to taking  out the reference                                                              
to the executive branch.                                                                                                        
9:31:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to adopt Amendment  2 to Amendment                                                              
1,  as  amended, to  delete  "in  the executive  branch  of  state                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON,  in  response   to  Representative  Gatto,                                                              
explained  that Amendment  2  to Amendment  1,  as amended,  would                                                              
allow  any  PERS  employer  to  rehire  retirees,  but  under  the                                                              
conditions contained within the rest of Amendment 1, as amended.                                                                
CHAIR LYNN  announced that there  being no objection,  Amendment 2                                                              
to Amendment 1, as amended, was adopted.                                                                                        
9:33:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   WILSON   remarked   that   the   15-day   minimum                                                              
recruitment time is "nothing."                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  responded  that that  minimum  is  current                                                              
9:34:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SHIER offered  further  details regarding  that  requirement.                                                              
He said the  time can be two,  15-day recruitments or  one, 30-day                                                              
recruitment.  He said he was reading that information from an e-                                                                
mail from Kathy  Lea, the retirement manager with  the Division of                                                              
Retirement & Benefits.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  reiterated that she  thinks 15 days  is too                                                              
short a period for a full recruitment.                                                                                          
9:35:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON said  he  thinks 2  weeks is  appropriate,                                                              
because  "during   that  period   of  time  we're   doing  without                                                              
important services."                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  responded, "You can get by  with not having                                                              
people fill a position longer than you think."                                                                                  
9:36:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO explained  that  he  thinks the  requirement                                                              
exists  to  prevent someone  from  retiring  on Friday  and  being                                                              
rehired  on Monday.   He remarked  that there  are some  positions                                                              
that are  so specialized  and hard  to fill,  that if  a qualified                                                              
person is found,  the 15-day requirement allows that  person to be                                                              
hired sooner.                                                                                                                   
9:37:30 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  offered the example of a  special education                                                              
teacher  leaving   mid-year  and   the  importance  of   hiring  a                                                              
replacement sooner than later.                                                                                                  
9:39:13 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  moved to adopt Amendment 3  to Amendment 1,                                                              
which would change the number of days from 15 to 25.                                                                            
9:39:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVES GATTO and JOHNSON objected.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said it is not necessarily  the same person                                                              
who  comes  back  to  the  job;   there  may  be  another  retired                                                              
individual  who  is hired.    He  reiterated  that there  are  few                                                              
individuals across  the state to whom this applies.   He expressed                                                              
his hope that the usefulness of the tool is maintained.                                                                         
9:42:37 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SHIER,   in  response   to  a   request  for   clarification,                                                              
reiterated  that  [Amendment  1,   as  previously  amended]  would                                                              
require two,  15-day periods, which  would total 30  days minimum.                                                              
In response to  a question from Representative  Gruenberg, he said                                                              
the  language  is sufficiently  clear,  as  it  has been  used  by                                                              
employers who have taken advantage of this tool.                                                                                
9:44:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PETERSEN  asked  if  Amendment 3  to  Amendment  1                                                              
would make the minimum requirement 40 days.                                                                                     
MR.  SHIER  offered  his interpretation  that  the  minimum  would                                                              
still remain at 30 days; the initial period would be 25 days.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN  reasoned that that would leave  5 days in                                                              
the secondary recruitment in order to reach the 30-day minimum.                                                                 
9:45:53 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON withdrew  Amendment  3 to  Amendment 1,  as                                                              
9:46:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  moved to adopt Amendment 4  to Amendment 1,                                                              
as  amended,  so that  the  initial  recruitment period  would  be                                                              
changed from  15 days  to 20 days  and the additional  recruitment                                                              
period added to  the initial one would total a minimum  of 40 days                                                              
rather than 30 days.                                                                                                            
9:46:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON objected.                                                                                                
9:46:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  said  he   would  like  to   hear  the                                                              
administration's opinion.                                                                                                       
9:47:10 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 9:47:15 AM to 9:48:55 AM.                                                                
9:48:59 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BLAISDELL said  she does  not think  an extended  recruitment                                                              
period would  pose a problem.   If the timing was  critical, there                                                              
may be  the possibility to  begin recruitment before  the position                                                              
is  vacated  if the  person  vacating  the position  gives  notice                                                              
early enough, she added.                                                                                                        
9:49:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON removed his objection.                                                                                   
9:49:53 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO objected.   He opined  that the  language of                                                              
"at least  15 days"  and "at  least 30  days" is  sufficient.   He                                                              
said it is  not for the committee  to decide what works  best in a                                                              
system that is already in use.                                                                                                  
9:50:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  suggested  that  this  issue  could  be                                                              
discussed during a break between meetings.                                                                                      
CHAIR LYNN  questioned whether the  administration sees this  as a                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON said, "Let's just vote."                                                                                  
9:51:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  said he wants  to vote rather  than delaying                                                              
9:51:48 AM                                                                                                                    
A  roll   call  vote  was   taken.    Representatives   Gruenberg,                                                              
Petersen,  Wilson,  and Lynn  voted  in favor  of  Amendment 4  to                                                              
Amendment  1,   as  amended.    Representatives   Gatto,  Johnson,                                                              
Seaton, voted  against it.   Therefore,  Amendment 4 to  Amendment                                                              
1, as amended, was adopted.                                                                                                     
9:52:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  removed his  objection  to Amendment  1                                                              
[as amended].   There being no further objection,  Amendment 1, as                                                              
amended, was adopted.                                                                                                           
9:52:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  moved  to adopt  Conceptual  Amendment  2,                                                              
which  would mirror  the intent  of  the adopted  Amendment 1,  as                                                              
amended, but would apply to TRS instead of PERS.                                                                                
9:54:38 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVES JOHNSON and GRUENBERG objected.                                                                                 
9:55:49 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVES  JOHNSON  and  WILSON  emphasized  their  concerns                                                              
regarding the need for clarity.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG echoed their  concern, stating  a desire                                                              
to have  the change  that was  made regarding  the number  of days                                                              
for  recruitment  periods specified  by  way  of an  amendment  to                                                              
Conceptual Amendment 2.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON reiterated that  Conceptual Amendment  2 is                                                              
conceptual, but said he would accept a "friendly amendment."                                                                    
9:57:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to adopt [Conceptual]  Amendment 1                                                              
to  Conceptual   Amendment  2,   which  would  change   Conceptual                                                              
Amendment 2 to read as follows:                                                                                                 
     Page 1, following line 8:                                                                                                  
          Insert new bill sections to read:                                                                                     
        "* Section 1. AS 14.20.135(a) is amended to read:                                                                   
          (a)  A school district or regional educational                                                                        
     attendance  area  that  has   or  anticipates  having  a                                                                   
     shortage   of  teachers   qualified   to   teach  in   a                                                                   
     particular  discipline  or  specialty  may,  subject  to                                                               
     AS 14.25.043(f)  [BY RESOLUTION], adopt,  by resolution,                                                           
     a  policy   that  permits  the  employment   of  retired                                                                   
     teachers who  are qualified  to teach in the  discipline                                                                   
     or  specialty  in  accordance  with  this  section.  The                                                                   
     policy must  describe the circumstances  that constitute                                                                   
     the  shortage.  If  a shortage  of  teachers  exists  as                                                                   
     described  in the  policy,  the district  or  attendance                                                                   
     area  shall notify  the administrator  of the  teachers'                                                                   
     retirement system  (AS 14.25) that it is  hiring retired                                                                   
     teachers under this section.                                                                                               
        * Sec.  2. AS 14.25.043  is amended  by adding  a new                                                                 
     subsection to read:                                                                                                        
          (f)  Notwithstanding (b) and (e) of this section                                                                      
     and  AS 14.25.135,   an  employer   that  is  a   school                                                                   
     district  or regional  educational  attendance area  may                                                                   
     not  allow  a  member  hired to  fill  a  position  that                                                                   
     requires  recruitment to make  the election provided  in                                                                   
     (b) or (e) of this section unless                                                                                          
               (1)  the employer conducted an initial                                                                           
     recruitment for  the position for at least  20 days that                                                                   
     resulted  in fewer than  three qualified, eligible,  and                                                                   
     available  applicants,  including  the  retired  member;                                                                   
               (2)  the employer then conducted an                                                                              
     additional   recruitment  for   the  position  and   the                                                                   
     additional  recruitment  resulted  in fewer  than  three                                                                   
     qualified,    eligible,   and   available    applicants,                                                                   
     including   the    retired   member;   the    additional                                                                   
     recruitment period  required by this paragraph  added to                                                                   
     the  initial recruitment  period in  (1) must total  not                                                                   
     fewer than 40 days."                                                                                                       
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
9:57:59 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN  concluded then that  Conceptual Amendment                                                              
2, if  amended, would afford  TRS the same  tools as  Amendment 1,                                                              
as amended, would offer PERS.                                                                                                   
9:58:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  announced that  Conceptual Amendment  1 to  Conceptual                                                              
Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                                                        
9:59:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON  withdrew   his  objection  to  Conceptual                                                              
Amendment   2,   [as  amended].      [Representative   Gruenberg's                                                              
objection  was considered  withdrawn.]    There being  no  further                                                              
objection, Conceptual Amendment 2, as amended, was adopted.                                                                     
9:59:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to adopt Amendment  3, labeled 26-                                                              
GH1035\A.3,  Wayne,  3/30/09,  which  read  as  follows  [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Page 1, lines 1 - 2:                                                                                                       
          Delete "chief economist and"                                                                                        
     Page 1, lines 2 - 3:                                                                                                       
          Delete   "and   certain    professional   positions                                                                 
     concerning  oil   and  gas  within  the   Department  of                                                                 
     Natural Resources"                                                                                                       
     Page 1, line 9, through page 2, line 7:                                                                                    
          Delete all material.                                                                                                  
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
     Page 2, line 9:                                                                                                            
          Delete "the chief economist and"                                                                                      
     Page 2, line 25:                                                                                                           
          Delete "secs. 3, 4, 7, and 8"                                                                                         
          Insert "secs. 2, 3, 6, and 7"                                                                                         
     Page 2, line 26:                                                                                                           
          Delete "secs. 3, 4, 7, and 8"                                                                                         
          Insert "secs. 2, 3, 6, and 7"                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said the only remaining  proposed change                                                              
to current  law would be to  make the state comptroller  an exempt                                                              
employee.    He  indicated  that this  proposed  amendment  is  in                                                              
response  to the  testimony  of  Mr. Johnson,  and  he stated  his                                                              
belief  that  the  state comptroller  makes  policy,  whereas  the                                                              
other  positions do  not and  should, thus,  remain in  classified                                                              
10:02:00 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVES JOHNSON, SEATON, and GATTO objected.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON  said he thinks  the chief economist  is in                                                              
a position of recommending policy.                                                                                              
10:02:31 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  said,  "I   think  that  in  the  DNR  oil                                                              
positions  ... they were  functioning as  a team  instead of  as a                                                              
single,  top-down,  so  I  think  that  those  are  policy-related                                                              
10:02:46 AM                                                                                                                   
A  roll  call  vote was  taken.    Representatives  Gruenberg  and                                                              
Petersen  voted   in  favor  of  Amendment  3.     Representatives                                                              
Johnson,  Seaton,  Wilson,  Gatto,  and  Lynn  voted  against  it.                                                              
Therefore, Amendment 3 failed by a vote of 2-5.                                                                                 
10:03:17 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to adopt Amendment  4, labeled 26-                                                              
GH1035\A.4,  Wayne,  3/30/09,  which  read  as  follows  [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Page 2, line 18:                                                                                                           
          Delete "2013"                                                                                                     
          Insert "2010"                                                                                                     
     Page 2, line 21:                                                                                                           
          Delete "2013"                                                                                                     
          Insert "2010"                                                                                                     
     Page 2, line 29:                                                                                                           
          Delete "2013"                                                                                                     
          Insert "2010"                                                                                                     
     Page 2, line 31:                                                                                                           
          Delete "2013"                                                                                                     
          Insert "2010"                                                                                                     
10:03:24 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON objected.                                                                                                
10:03:35 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG    explained   that    making   general                                                              
exemptions  to the policy  of the  merit-based classified  service                                                              
for  two years  rather than  four  will allow  the legislature  to                                                              
revisit  the issue  sooner  to determine  whether  the change  was                                                              
10:04:31 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON noted  that 2010  is just  one year  away.                                                              
He maintained his objection.                                                                                                    
10:05:00 AM                                                                                                                   
A  roll  call  vote was  taken.    Representatives  Gruenberg  and                                                              
Petersen voted in  favor of Amendment 4.   Representatives Seaton,                                                              
Wilson, Gatto,  Johnson, and  Lynn voted  against it.   Therefore,                                                              
Amendment 4 failed by a vote of 2-5.                                                                                            
The committee took an at-ease from 10:05:37 AM to 10:06:40 AM.                                                              
10:06:42 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG   next   directed   attention   to   AS                                                              
39.35.150(g), which read as follows:                                                                                            
          (g) In accordance with this section, a political                                                                      
     subdivision  or  a  public   organization  that  has  or                                                                   
     anticipates  having a  shortage  of employees  qualified                                                                   
     for particular  job classes may, by resolution,  adopt a                                                                   
     policy  that permits  the  employment  of employees  who                                                                   
     retired under  AS 39.35.370(a), who have  been separated                                                                   
     from  employment  for at  least  30  days, and  who  are                                                                   
     qualified  for   particular  job  classes.   The  policy                                                                   
     adopted  by resolution must  describe the  circumstances                                                                   
     that constitute  the shortage.  The policy must  require                                                                   
     recruitment   procedures   similar  to   the   procedure                                                                   
     described  in  (h)  of this  section  for  any  position                                                                   
     filled  by   a  retired  employee  under  (f)   of  this                                                                   
     section.  If a  shortage of  qualified employees  exists                                                                   
     as described  in the  policy, the political  subdivision                                                                   
     or   the   public   organization    shall   notify   the                                                                   
     administrator  that it is  hiring retired members  under                                                                   
     (f)  of this section  and shall  provide  a copy of  the                                                                   
     resolution and  policy adopted by the resolution  to the                                                                   
     administrator   of  the  public  employees'   retirement                                                                   
     system (AS 39.35).                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to adopt Amendment  5, which would                                                              
change "30" to "180" in AS 39.35.150(g).                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON objected.                                                                                                
10:09:44 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said Amendment 5 would  stop the current                                                              
practice,  in some  cases,  of "the  revolving  door," whereby  an                                                              
employee  retires one  day and returns  very  quickly to the  same                                                              
job, thus "double  dipping."  He said he believes  there should be                                                              
a   mandatory  separation   of   180  days.      In  response   to                                                              
Representative  Johnson,  he  confirmed  that  Amendment  5  would                                                              
affect PERS, not TRS.                                                                                                           
10:10:25 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSON expressed concern  that a 180-day  waiting                                                              
period may  prohibit hiring  someone needed  for the  continuation                                                              
of the  construction of  the [gas]  pipeline.   He stated  that he                                                              
strongly  objects to  putting artificial  barriers in  the way  of                                                              
hiring the best people possible.                                                                                                
10:11:41 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG withdrew Amendment 5, and urged the                                                                    
committee to work on the issue.                                                                                                 
10:11:54 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  moved to report  HB 157, as amended,  out of                                                              
committee  with individual  recommendations  and the  accompanying                                                              
fiscal  notes.    There being  no  objection,  CSHB  157(STA)  was                                                              
reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects