Kent State offers faculty, staff separation plan

Kristyn Soltis

148 to leave as result of buyout

Credit: DKS Editors

CLICK HERE to view a pdf of the executive summary for the university.

Kent State professor Donald McFall has spent the past 29 years investing in the State Teachers Retirement System and planned to retire when he reached the 30-year mark.

McFall, a non-tenure track member in the college of business administration, now has an extra incentive for retirement he hadn’t planned on.

McFall has the opportunity to leave university employment when he had originally intended, but now he will also receive a buyout payment.

Kent State is offering faculty and staff who have worked for the university for more than 15 years the option to leave university employment at the end of the current fiscal year, June 30, 2009, and receive a monetary payment of up to $65,000 over a five- or eight-year period, depending on their faculty or staff group and base salary.

Employees had until May 22 to make a decision about the separation plan, and 148 Kent State faculty and staff members opted for the plan and will leave their university positions June 30.

However, the university may retain some employees up to a year beyond the separation date based on the educational and operational needs of the university.

“The problem with any buyout is that many very productive and experienced employees will be leaving the university,” McFall said. “The challenge will be to replace that lost talent efficiently.”

Marianne Blankenship, a business manager and coordinator of administration who has been with the university since 1983, saw the separation plan as a way to reunite with family.

“The early retirement incentive program affords me the ability to join my husband, who has taken a position in Charlotte, N.C., while providing for our son, who is a Kent State student,” Blankenship said.

Stephen Coleman, Lead IT User Support Analyst, will also be retiring after 35 years of work with the university.

Coleman was in favor of the separation plan because it would add to his existing personal retirement savings.

“I was planning to retire sometime soon,” Coleman said. “The separation plan convinced me to do it this summer.”

Those who took the buyout will receive between $20,000 and $65,000 of their base salary over a five- to eight-year period depending on their faculty or staff group.

The university paired with the Educators Preferred Corporation to create a separation plan in an effort to contain costs and avoid program cuts, pay reductions and lay-offs during this tough economic time.

According to the Executive Summary for the University Incentive Plan from March 11, the projected savings during an eight-year period was more than $33 million.

Contact principal reporter Kristyn Soltis at [email protected].