INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Dozens opt for University’s voluntary separation program
By : Katie Ellis
Binghamton University faces yet another cut in operating funds for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, after already absorbing approximately $16.5 million over a three-year period, according to James Van Voorst, vice president for administration.
“We expect about $6 million in reductions in addition to what we’ve already dealt with,” he said. “Based on that expectation, we have a course of action that continues to protect permanent employees and avoids retrenchment.”
A key component of the plan is the voluntary separation program that the University developed, Van Voorst said. As of the April 15 deadline, 78 of the 119 people who originally indicated interest had committed to taking advantage of the program — staff by June 30, 2010, and faculty by Aug. 31, 2010.
With an average length of service to the University of 28 years, those who have agreed to voluntarily separate from the University will leave with lump-sum payments of 35 percent of their base annual salary if they’ve completed 15 years of service, or 50 percent of their base annual salary if they’ve completed 25 years of service.
Those committing to the program come from all divisions of the University, including 34 classified staff, a dozen faculty, 30 professional staff and two Research Foundation employees.
The program benefits those leaving as well as the campus, Van Voorst said.
“It’s given an incentive to those already thinking of retiring, and from the campus viewpoint, it creates movement,” he said. “This creates vacancies and allows managers to realign duties and make adjustments to be more efficient in carrying out those duties. It’s another tool for managers to use.”
The program will also give the campus the ability to hire at a lower salary level for those positions that are refilled, for additional savings, Van Voorst added.
The number of people who have committed to leave will have an impact on the campus, and there will be changes as a result.
“Some things will have to be eliminated,” Van Voorst said. “For instance, Physical Facilities will adjust the frequency of its cleaning schedule and departments will continue to delay or put equipment purchases on hold indefinitely.”