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Federal wildlife agency prepares for Alaska employee 'exodus'

Alaska Dispatch

There will soon to be a lot of boots to fill at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska. The Associated Press reports that the agency is preparing for an employee "exodus" beginning Dec. 31.

According to the AP, 40 to 50 senior Alaska FWS employees, including program chiefs and refuge managers, will be retiring just before the New Year. The mass exit represents 10 percent of the state's Fish and Wildlife Service workforce.

Why the departure? Agency employees of retirement age are looking to take advantage of a one-time window for increased retirement pay, left open due to changes in the federal locality payment system, which provides wage differential to workers who inhabit areas in the country with a high cost, like Alaska.

Fish and Wildlife spokesman, Bruce Woods, told the AP that the departing employees will take with them years of acquired wisdom.

Hundreds, probably more than a thousand, years of combined experience, largely in Alaska, although some of the people have had careers that have taken them all over.

However, not all is lost. With the older generation moving on, a younger one will now have the opportunity to make its mark. And, Woods adds, that an incoming crop of less experienced workers means a lower pay grade, which is good news for the agency's budged.

Read more, here.