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Trustees weigh options for early retirement packages

ZANESVILLE — The Ohio University Board of Trustees will vote today on a resolution that would offer early retirement and voluntary separation options for university employees during fiscal year 2012.

Assuming 20 to 22 percent employee participation, the proposed plan would save OU about $8.7 million annually and cost about $9.7 million up front, according to a previous Postarticle. The proposal uses incentives to  entice older, higher-paid employees who are near retirement to leave.

The implementation of an early retirement and voluntary separation plan would just be another way to fill the university’s budget deficit, said OU President Roderick McDavis during the Board of Trustee’s Resources Committee meeting yesterday.

“It was to try to create a number of tools for our tool kit, so that this is one more,” McDavis said. “You’ll recall that we brought a furlough policy, which, knock on wood, we haven’t had to think about. It was simply another tool … we have not had this recently because we have not had the challenges that we’re facing from a budget perspective.”

One of the main concerns for Board of Trustees Vice Chairman C. Robert Kidder was the possibility of losing top faculty members in academic units.

“Presumably, there would also be circumstances if you lost a ‘star’ — if a program is defined by an individual,” Kidder said.

In response to those concerns, President McDavis said the plan could force academic units to combine, creating new programs.

“There may be opportunities for two departments to merge or deans and faculty to think of ways of delivering (in different ways) … I think it’s going to create some very interesting opportunities for conversation. We have not had this level of separation before,” McDavis said.

Given OU’s budgetary climate, Trustee Frank Krasovec said that the plan might be appropriate.

“Maybe the timing is good … I hate to call it a cleansing process, but it’s a process other universities and business go through,” Krasovec said.

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