Local News

Some State Employees May Have To Put Retirement Plans On Hold

Posted November 25, 2002 6:12 a.m. EST

— After decades of service, thousands of state employees who are ready to retire may have to wait. The agency that oversees state retirement cannot keep up with the work load.

Larry Campbell, assistant director of campus activities at N.C. State, said he plans on retiring in February. But his retirement after 29 years in state government is proving to be one big headache.

"I'm still waiting on a final estimate which I have not gotten," he said.

Campbell, who started planning his retirement six years ago, said he cannot get answers to a very important question.

"I feel like I need to know exactly what I am going to be receiving in compensation," he said.

Campbell is one of thousands of employees whose inquiries have overun an undermanned state retirement system.

"We have long hold times averaging about 20 minutes from someone who calls in, wanting to get through. One in three people who call us hang up before we get to talk to someone," said Michael Williamson, who helps to oversee the state retirement system.

Williamson said it takes a number of people to handle the mail and process the records. Due to the backlog, he said it may take two or three weeks to get their information back to you.

"We'll eventually pay you. It just won't be in the month that you want to get paid," he said.

The state retirement system is part of the State Treasurer's Office, which currently has a full staff of 125 people. Officials plan to ask the state Legislature to approve the hiring of 36 additional employees to help with the situation.