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Published: Tuesday, 11/24/2009

BGSU board to consider faculty, staff buyout offer

Cartwright Cartwright
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BOWLING GREEN - Bowling Green State University will offer buyouts to faculty and staff as the university looks for additional ways to cut costs.

BGSU President Carol Cartwright sent a letter to faculty and staff yesterday notifying them that a "University Employee Separation Program" is going before the university's trustees next week. If approved, the program would be offered to full-time faculty and staff with at least 15 years at the university as of June 30, 2010.

"The UESP is an important tool to help reduce costs in these uncertain economic times," Ms. Cartwright wrote. "I appreciate your hard work and dedication to the university and will keep you informed as we move forward."

Details of the plan are not being revealed until the trustees approve it, but university spokesman Dave Kielmeyer said it is a new program that would offer a flat-rate payment depending on the employee designation - classified staff, administrative staff, faculty, or faculty administrator.

"It is a cost-savings measure, but it also will allow us to take a look and perhaps do some reor-ganization in some areas based on the response," he said.

There is not a specific dollar amount the university is trying to save through this program and the effects depend on how many people chose to participate, Mr. Kielmeyer said.

BGSU's state funding through State Share of Instruction dollars will be reduced by $8.3 million from this year to next fiscal year, Ms. Cartwright has previously said.

This buyout program and other personnel changes already implemented are in response to declines in state funding during the slow economy.

Ms. Cartwright stressed in her letter that the employee separation program is voluntary.

It is not an early retirement plan and also is available to employees not retiring, but those who do take the buyout can return to work at BGSU only as adjunct faculty members for one year under certain conditions.

"There will be no other opportunity to be 'rehired' at the university for 10 years," Ms. Cartwright wrote in the letter.

Employees not eligible for the buyouts are part-time employees, those whose positions are 100 percent grant-funded, and those who have retired and been rehired at the university.

The buyout program is in addition to previous actions to save personnel costs.

BGSU announced in August a furlough program for more than 500 employees to save $800,000. The employees - who had to be full-time, 12-month staff members with salaries of at least $50,000 - had to take three to seven unpaid days depending on salary.

The university remains under a hiring freeze and this year eliminated about 70 full-time positions and laid off about 20 classified full-time employees.

Contact Meghan Gilbert-Cunningham

at: mcunningham@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.

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