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Nearly 300 North Dakota state employees apply for buyout

“The Pioneer Family” stands in front of the North Dakota State Capitol on July 14, 2016, in Bismarck. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service

BISMARCK — Nearly 300 North Dakota state employees have applied for a buyout amid requested cuts under Gov. Doug Burgum, state budget officials said Tuesday, Sept. 11.

Of the 294 applications received under the "voluntary separation incentive program," 121 came from the Department of Human Services, the state's largest agency. Another 67 came from the Department of Transportation while the Department of Health and Information Technology Department each accounted for 23.

Two agencies, the Insurance Department and the Retirement and Investment Office, were still accepting applications as of Tuesday, said Becky Sicble, the interim director of the state's Human Resource Management Services.

The program was announced in June, weeks after Burgum called on agencies to craft smaller budgets for the next two-year budget cycle because previous financial woes cut into the state's reserves. Lawmakers will appropriate money for the 2019-21 biennium during the next legislative session that starts in January.

Last year, 159 employees took a buyout, resulting in severance packages that totaled about $2.9 million.

State employees have gone without salary increases during this biennium, but Burgum has signaled support for funding those in 2019-21.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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