PULL Program Taps Retiree Talent Pool
IAMU member utilities will be losing an unusually large number of managers, financial officers, electric line workers, pipeline operators and others, due in part to the growing number of baby-boomers who are retiring. Competition in the job market for qualified utility personnel is intensifying and replacing key individuals can be very difficult. The Association operates a service that utilizes the unique talent and experience of retired utility managers, finance officers, and other skilled workers through the Professional Utility Leadership Link (PULL).
Our corps of service providers is retained from among willing and qualified retirees and others in the industry. Here is an example of how it works: a member utility, having experiencing the loss of a key employee or needing assistance on a specific project, notifies IAMU of the nature of their need. IAMU, in turn, contacts project participants about the opportunity. If a qualified personnel are interested and available, IAMU and the requesting utility enter a contract for provision of the services. A second agreement between the PULL employee and IAMU define the pay and benefits, which IAMU recovers through its contract with the utility. The terms of such contracts – compensation rate, hours, duration, project purpose, milestones – will vary greatly. Some requirements might be satisfied with a day or two of consultation; others might last for weeks or months.
Among the pool of recent retirees, there may be a person with just the right skills to fill a temporary vacancy, review and improve current practices, mentor a new employee, oversee a project, advise the manager or governing body, or prepare a timely report. The following situations illustrate the potential for PULL agreements:
- A key employee is lost due to relocation, retirement, or death and the utility needs temporary assistance until a permanent replacement can be hired or trained.
- A utility manager retires, but a replacement is still not on board on the retirement date. The retiring manager would be willing to help out, but is younger than 70 and is precluded from returning to IPERS covered employment for at least four months or entering a written or verbal contract before receiving an initial benefit payment. In that circumstance, the retiree could participate in the PULL program and IAMU could provide seamless continuity.
- The utility’s billing clerk leaves. A replacement is available, but with no utility experience. The utility is unable to process customer bills, collect payments, or pay bills. A stack of incomplete reports to state and federal agencies is found in the in box.
- A water utility loses its grade 2 operator and is unable to recruit a replacement. It needs an interim operator or a long-term agreement for an operator by affidavit.
- A key employee is about to take 30 years of institutional memory into retirement and it becomes imperative that critical information be recorded before it is lost.
- The utility has a special project, such as a rate study, replacement of conductors on a distribution circuit, or upgrade of the water treatment plant, but has no one on staff with the time or expertise to oversee the project.
- The utility has an accounting system that looks a lot like an ordinary checkbook and it needs a few days of consultation from someone who really knows utility accounting.
Comments and questions about PULL can be sent to Troy DeJoode at email@example.com or by calling 800-810-4268.