The Guilford County Board of Commissioners along with department heads and top county staff are pushing hard this year for a change in state law that would allow retired county workers to come back to work and provide more than 1,000 hours of additional service – which is where the cap on retiree call-backs stands right now.
Sometimes Guilford County employees retire and drop off the grid, and then, months later, they’re seen out at a store or a restaurant looking 20 years younger and half as stressed out as before.
At other times, however, a county employee will retire and then be seen a few weeks later working away in a county office. In many cases, directors or other staff rely on retiree callbacks because the employee may have special knowledge of a longstanding issue that needs to be wrapped up or because their experience and skills are needed for a job in a department facing a lot of vacancies.
The desire for this change will be presented to the local delegation of state legislators when the Guilford County Board of Commissioners meet with the delegation on Friday, Feb. 10.
The change called for is presented this way: “Local Government Workforce Flexibility – Ease total hours of work restrictions for retiree call backs.”
Currently, the state’s “Return to Work Laws” limit retirees from the State Employee’s Retirement System and the Local Government Retirement System to 1,000 hours each calendar year.
Actually, many county officials want to see the cap completely eliminated, but they would be happy to see it increased in any significant way.
Guilford County Emergency Services Director Jim Albright was one of several county directors who spoke on the need last week at the Board of Commissioners retreat. He cited the need to make up for high vacancy rates in the post-pandemic era.
Since those employees know the ropes they do not need extensive training as new employees do.
Emergency Department and Sheriff’s Department officials pointed out that at times having a capable employee in place to do a job can be the difference between life and death for county residents.