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July 24, 1997

No decision yet on early retirement plan for faculty

Pitt's administration has not ruled out Sept. 1 as the starting date for a faculty early retirement plan, but the timing is getting tight.

Chancellor Mark Nordenberg hasn't approved or rejected the plan yet, but he has said he wants the Board of Trustees' budget committee to review the proposal.

However, the committee hasn't been able to meet because of schedule conflicts among trustees, according to board secretary Robert Dunkelman.

"We tried to set up a meeting for the 21st [of July] and then for Aug. 5, but hardly anyone could attend," Dunkelman said. "Hopefully, we can schedule something for late August or early September." The early retirement plan is intended to promote intellectual renewal and flexibility in reallocating resources by enticing older, higher-paid, tenured faculty to retire earlier than they otherwise would. The current draft of the plan recommends two options:

* A window plan that would offer retiring faculty payments as much as 2.5 times their salaries.

* A phased-down employment plan that would allow faculty as young as 59, with 10 years' service, to reduce their workloads by half and receive two-thirds of their pay for a fixed number of years.

Nordenberg and board chairperson J. W. Connolly agree that the trustees' budget committee should review any such proposal because of the plan's potential impact on Pitt's budget.

Assuming the budget committee and the University administration endorsed the plan, the full Board of Trustees or its executive committee also would be given a chance to review the proposal, Nordenberg has said.

Most academic departments already have made teaching assignments for the fall term. But Interim Vice Chancellor for Finance Art Ramicone, who chaired the faculty-administrator committee that drafted the faculty early retirement plan, said he hasn't heard of any decision to rule out Sept. 1 as the plan's starting date.

Ramicone's committee had suggested Jan. 1 as an alternative, but less desirable, starting point.

Faculty Assembly and Senate Council endorsed the early retirement plan at meetings this month.

— Bruce Steele

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