California's retired state government employees have a new way to re-enter the work force, one that could make it easier for government offices to fill part-time vacancies left by the baby boomer turnover sweeping through the public sector.

 

A new database, known as Boomerang, allows retirees to list their expertise and interests, while simultaneously letting California state agencies search for promising talent.

 

"With the baby boomers retiring in large numbers, we are going to have a big gap between who is leaving and who we can bring in," said Andrew Armani, state director of eServices. "So Boomerang will be a piece of what we are trying to do to remedy that problem."

 

 

Boomerang's Debut

The system went live for registrants on Sept. 5 2006, and within two weeks had seen nearly 120 retirees sign up. A limited number of departments got access to the database this fall as a trial run, Armani said, and full access for all departments is expected in January.

 

While those first 120 retirees came in strictly through word of mouth, program organizers have a number of efforts planned to promote Boomerang among the state's 400,000 to 500,000 retirees in the coming months. They are working with the state controller's office to publicize the program on pay stubs, in the hope of reaching some who may be planning to retire soon. A Boomerang newsletter will go out to present and future retirees, and planners also are coordinating with CalPERS, the state's public employee retirement system.

 

"CalPERS is where people go before they retire, to plan their retirement," Armani said. "They have classes there, and we have asked CalPERS to take time in those classes to refer to this database."

 

As for spreading the word among state departments, Armani is not overly concerned. "Even though we are still in phase one, I am already getting calls from departments asking when this is going to open up for them to come in."

 

The State and Consumer Services Agency will be the first to go live on the system, along with its 16 subsidiary agencies, including the Department of General Services, Department of Consumer Affairs, the State Personnel Board and the Franchise Tax Board.

 

 

Meeting a Need

At the Franchise Tax Board, CIO Cathy Cleek said the database is a necessary

Adam Stone  |  Contributing Writer