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Is Governor Markell Serious About a Top-Down Review?

February 22, 2009

The State of Delaware has never had a review of any kind which analyzes the scope, size and effectiveness of state government. Yes, at the Joint Finance Committee meetings there is information exchanged and budget requests made but in the end there are usually small increases made to each department without regard for a long term analysis.
Governor Markell has an obligation to do so now. There is no better place to start than the number of state employees, what they do and what they are paid.
Any assessment should not be an open invitation to bludgeon state workers but after looking at the following information everyone must take note of the need to assess every aspect of the state workforce.
                                                              STATE EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

The average state employee is paid $41,100 a year. In addition, employees receive generous fringe benefits.

Paid vacation: Fifteen days a year for new hires, 21 days after 15 years

Paid holidays: 12 days in 2009, including Good Friday, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, and the days after Christmas and Thanksgiving

Paid sick leave:  Fifteen days a year. At retirement, employee gets paid one-half of accrued sick time up to a maximum of 45 days.

Pension: A typical employee who retires this year after 30 years would receive 58 percent of his or her annual pay, including overtime, for life. Employees contribute 3 percent of all wages greater than $6,000 a year and the state pension fund pays the rest.

Health care:  Employees can choose from four medical plans each for individuals, couples and families whose cost ranges from none to $128.74 a month. The most-expensive family medical plan costs state employees $1,545 a year and taxpayers $14,563. The average annual cost to employees nationwide with a family plan is $3,354 — more than twice what state employees pay.

Dental:  Coverage costs from $20.36 to $81.84 monthly, and the state makes no contribution.

Sources: State of Delaware, Kaiser Family Foundation

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