Retirement changes could worsen agency woes

By MELINDA DESLATTE
Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's elections and agriculture regulators say the governor's retirement proposals could drive some of their most qualified staff from their employment rolls.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler and Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain said those losses could worsen problems at their agencies, where they face budget cuts that they say could shutter museums, force layoffs and reduce firefighting capability.

The comments from Schedler and Strain came as the Senate Finance Committee combs through Gov. Bobby Jindal's $25.5 billion budget proposal.

The budget includes cuts across statewide elected officials' departments and assumes major retirement changes that would lessen benefits for rank & file workers.

Schedler says he expects to lose 5 of his key elections officials if the retirement changes pass, because those workers will want to leave before the changes take effect.

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