I, Sarah Palin, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority of art. III, secs. 1 and 24, of the Alaska Constitution, and in accordance with AS 44.19.145(c), establish the Executive Branch Working Group to address issues concerning recruitment and retention of state employees in the executive branch.
- Public and private employers across the country are experiencing recruitment and retention difficulties, primarily for two reasons: 1) an aging workforce with more employees taking earlier retirements; and 2) a smaller workforce available to replace those leaving employment;
- As an employer, the State of Alaska has the responsibility to its employees and to the people of Alaska to recruit and retain the best and brightest of its citizens in public service;
- Failure to hire and keep professional and exceptional employees impairs the performance of important state functions, including building roads, paying the bills of the State of Alaska, and processing permits necessary for development;
- Close to 40 percent of all 2006 state employee recruitments for the executive branch resulted in fewer than five qualified, eligible, and interested candidates;
- The statewide turnover rate in employment in the executive branch increased from 24 percent in 2005 to 29 percent in 2006;
- Twenty-seven percent of the state workforce in the executive branch is eligible to retire in five years; more importantly, 33 percent of those eligible to retire from state service in the executive branch are employed as professional staff;
- The State of Alaska also has a responsibility to be efficient in its delivery of services and to establish spending levels that are sustainable;
- State salaries in the executive branch as well as other factors must be considered in determining how to improve the effectiveness of the State of Alaska as an employer; and
- Knowledge transfer — not only the sharing of knowledge between retiring employees and their successors, but also the mentoring and training of those successors — must be an integral piece of continuing smooth state operations in the executive branch; lack of attention to the transfer of knowledge among those employees carries a heavy financial penalty for the State of Alaska and its business partners.
To further these findings, I, Sarah Palin, Governor of the State of Alaska, issue the following order:
- I establish an Executive Branch Working Group to make recommendations regarding recruitment and retention of state employees in the executive branch and efficiencies that the State of Alaska will need to make to address the smaller workforce available to it;
- The Executive Branch Working Group is composed of seven members and is chaired by the commissioner of the Department of Administration to research, address, and provide recommendations concerning the findings set out in this Order; the commissioner of administration shall appoint the members; any commissioner from a principal department of the executive branch or the director of the office of management and budget may be appointed; appointments must include knowledgeable persons who can quantify the State of Alaska’s liabilities and benefits as an employer;
- The Executive Branch Working Group may form subgroups to focus on specific tasks, and may engage private sector sources, legislators, union representatives, and other sources able and willing to assist in this effort; the group must take into account the impact of existing labor contracts for the State of Alaska while conducting its analysis;
- At a minimum, the Executive Branch Working Group shall perform the following duties:
- The current situation concerning recruitment and retention of state employees in the executive branch;
- The costs of training new state employees;
- The changes that restrain the growth of government, and allow the state to more effectively accomplish necessary services for its citizens;
- The opportunities in which the State of Alaska can partner with both the private sector and other governmental entities;
- The opportunities to cross-train within and between departments of state government to encourage efficiencies;
- The cost-neutral or low-cost solutions in the workplace environment in the executive branch that can increase workplace satisfaction.
- The State of Alaska’s current hiring criteria, with the goal of opening recruitment to more potential applicants not currently employed by the State of Alaska;
- Any hiring practices of the State of Alaska that may reduce the pool of qualified applicants for state employment;
- The State of Alaska’s current education requirements and minimum qualifications for state employment, including pertinent certifications, licensure, and supervisory level requirements;
- The State of Alaska’s recruitment tools, including Workplace Alaska, with the goal of developing a more streamlined, user-friendly, and unified recruitment effort;
- The merit principle of state employment and whether the principle could more effectively be used to provide incentive and retain quality employees in the executive branch.
- Develop a plan to improve the competitiveness of the State of Alaska as an employer to better position the State of Alaska to meet the long-term workforce needs of the executive branch.
- The Executive Branch Working Group shall provide its recommendations to the Governor before November 1, 2007.
The Department of Administration shall provide administrative support for the Executive Branch Working Group.
The following general provisions apply to the activities of the Executive Branch Working Group:
- The members do not receive compensation as a member of the Executive Branch Working Group; per diem and travel expenses for a member of the working group are the responsibility of the state agency that the member represents.
- To reduce costs, the Executive Branch Working Group may use teleconferencing or other electronic means to the extent practicable in order to gain the widest public participation at minimum cost.
- The Executive Branch Working Group shall establish procedures for voting and meetings of the working group.
This Order takes effect immediately.
DATED at Juneau, Alaska, this 24th day of August, 2007.