26, No. 2, July 20, 2006
Trustees propose program,
discuss rehiring of retirees
Sabryna Cornish, UIC News Bureau
A one-year pilot
program proposed at the UI Board of Trustees meeting July 13 in Chicago
would allow employees to voice their opinions of policies and procedures – and
suggest ways that they could be changed for the better – through a Web
The program was proposed by the inaugural class of University Administrative
Fellows, a group of eight faculty and staff members from the UI’s three
campuses who last fall completed a professional development program for employees
aspiring to middle- and executive-level administrative positions. The group,
which completed the three-year fellowship program last fall, developed the proposal
at the request of President B. Joseph White as a means for resolving procedural
problems that hinder employees’ job performance.
“Employees can enter concerns that they feel are preventing them
from doing their job in the most efficient manner,” said Maxine Sandretto,
director of budget and resource planning at the College of Law at Urbana and
a university administrative fellow.
“This is a program that we think will provide some relief,” said
Maureen Parks, director of employee relations and human resources and a university
Once a list of the problematic policies was compiled, the program director would
try to identify solutions, costs and the risks of altering policies. E-mails
would be sent to university employees once problems were posted asking for their
comments and suggested solutions.
The resolution would be posted to the Web site so that there would be ongoing
communication with the university community, Sandretto said.
The trustees approved a policy for rehiring retirees that requires prior approval
of the board of trustees in certain circumstances. The previous policy, which
had been in effect since 1993, allowed the rehiring of retirees at the discretion
of the university president.
“Sometimes it is practical to rehire retiree employees,” said trustee
Marjorie Sodemann. “We value retired faculty members. They are an excellent
reservoir of employees who work on short notice.”
Trustee Devon Bruce said that many different interests needed to be balanced
to come up with a workable policy.
“This allows faculty members to come back and teach,” he said.
The trustees were concerned that rehired retirees might inadvertently receive
additional pension contributions from the State Universities Retirement System
that they weren’t entitled to receive.
“We want to prevent abuses to SURS so that people would not be allowed
to come back and double dip,” Bruce said.
The policy explicitly prohibits the rehiring of “retired senior administrators
to positions from which they have retired or to similar positions without board
Retired faculty members who are rehired to teach courses, advise students and
perform related duties occasionally would not need board pre-approval. The policy
also contains exceptions for retirees conducting research funded by grants and
contracts, those providing patient care, those reappointed as academic hourly
employees on a temporary basis and retirees appointed on a temporary basis to
perform staff functions when other options are not feasible.
Sodemann said the board wanted to be careful not to stymie the advancement of
less experienced employees.
- The board approved
extending athletic director Ronald Guenther’s contract by three
more years and increasing his salary from $410,000 to $500,000, effective
July 14. Guenther also will receive a retention incentive of $250,000
if he stays at the university through December 2008. Guenther has
been director of the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics since July
1, 1992. “He has an enormous list of accomplishments,”
Chancellor Richard Herman said. “He has brought in a level of
integrity and excellence to athletics.” Trustee Robert Sperling
said Guenther has received offers from other universities. “He’s
had other opportunities,” Sperling said. “We’re
lucky to have him.”Guenther’s salary increase and retainer
will be funded through DIA’s institutional operating funds budget
and not state appropriations, Herman said.
- The board approved
Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld as director of the Institute of Labor and
Industrial Relations. Cutcher-Gershenfeld is the executive director
of the Engineering Systems Learning Center at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology. Herman said the institute is one of the few elite schools
in the discipline. “I think we brought someone in who will keep
us at that level,” he said.
- Karen Schmidt,
associate university librarian for collections, was appointed acting
university librarian effective Aug. 16. Schmidt will serve in that
position while university librarian Paula Kaufman fills in as interim
chief information officer until a permanent replacement is found for
Pete Siegel, who resigned as CIO effective Aug. 14 for a position
at the University of California at Davis.
board approved the issuance of auxiliary facilities system revenue
bonds to finance six already-approved capital projects with budgets
that totaled $348.2 million. At Urbana, the bonds will finance
$104 million of the $116 million first phase of the Memorial Stadium
renovations, the entire cost of constructing a $75.7 million Student
Dining and Residential Programs Building and the first wing of
a new residence hall, and $5 million of the $11 million conference