Amended retirement incentive approved

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By Katherine Garcia

After discussion of an amended incentive, the board of trustees approved a retirement proposal at the regular board meeting Tuesday in Killen Center.

The proposal, forwarded from the Audit, Budget and Finance Committee March 18, is a one-time payment equal to 50 percent of base salary not exceeding $47,500 for full-time employees meeting the rule of 80, which is the number of years of service and age equaling 80.

Trustees approved an amended proposal in which about 45 academic advisers will be hired, and it is projected it will take the district two years to recoup the $6 million of the funds expended for the retirement incentive. Thereafter, the district will save $3 million annually. The original proposal would have moved existing employees into advising positions and would have recouped $6 million in 13 months.

According to the minute order, the incentive is funded by a $6.5 million incentive payment fund composed of a $6 million annualized salary and a benefit cost savings.

Diane Snyder, vice chancellor of finance and administration, presented the amended proposal.

Two hundred people, including 127 faculty and 73 staff, are expected to take the incentive out of 343 positions eligible for retirement districtwide, according to her presentation. At this college, 123 faculty and 31 staff are eligible.

The district will reassign 42 faculty and hire 42 faculty to increase the numbers in rapid-growth areas such as math, science, nursing and allied health, and workforce programs, according to the presentation. In addition, the presentation showed the district will hire or reassign 37 staff members to replace retirees from critical areas, such as financial aid and information technology.

Eligible employees can apply for the incentive starting April 1. Those wishing to retire by Aug. 31 must apply by June 1, and those wishing to retire by Jan. 9 must apply by July 1. Staffing positions will be realigned from July through December.

Dr.Herbert Mann, an English professor at Palo Alto since 1988, addressed his opposition to the retirement incentive, saying that he was asked to make a decision to retire by a certain time.

He was not not eligible to take the 2011 incentive to retire, and, after turning 65 in October, he said he had to submit a letter of intent if he planned to retire.

He said it would have been in his best interest to wait to announce his intent to retire.

When he had received a directive to submit paperwork, he wasn’t aware of the coming incentive.

“It was my understanding that I could not rescind the letter of intent, but it was also my understanding that I was required to submit the letter when I did,” he said.

He said in a phone interview Thursday that he was asked and not forced to send the letter. He said he’d like the board to consider allowing him and others in his situation a chance to receive this offer since he didn’t know about it before he submitted the letter.

“Should the proposed retirement incentive be approved, I’m hoping there can be enough flexibility to make an adjustment in this generous offer for people in my situation.”

He asked the board to consider offering the retirement incentive to those retiring before April 1 when the incentive kicks in.


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