BISMARCK-Two-hundred state employees applied for a buyout in recent weeks, North Dakota budget officials said Wednesday, Jun 21.
The results of the "voluntary separation incentive program" were announced during a meeting of the Legislature's Budget Section at the state Capitol. Pam Sharp, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said 158 of the 200 applicants for the program were accepted.
Seventeen agencies, including the governor's office, offered the buyouts, Sharp said. The state's largest agency, the Department of Human Services, accounted for the most buyout applicants with 129, of which 102 were accepted.
The severance packages are estimated to cost almost $3 million, according to Sharp's presentation. State agencies needed to find money for the buyouts in their budgets, which they did by filling positions at a lower pay rate or not filling positions.
The buyouts were announced in early April amid a legislative session that saw lawmakers slash spending due to sluggish tax revenues. Lawmakers cut general fund spending from the $6 billion appropriated two years ago to $4.3 billion for the 2017-19 funding cycle.
Sharp estimated the general fund balance at the end of the current biennium, which concludes June 30, will be almost $30.3 million.