Wednesday, March 30, 2011
105 CNM Workers Will Take Buyout
By James Monteleone
Journal Staff Writer
At least 105 full-time faculty and staff at Central New Mexico Community College have agreed to accept a buyout and retire this year to help the college save money, CNM officials said Tuesday.
The class of CNM retirees represents nearly 10 percent of the college's 1,100 full-time faculty and staff.
CNM in February offered to pay $1,000 per year of service at the college to any full-time workers eligible to retire this year. They asked employees to commit to the program by March to aid in budget planning.
The buyouts will cost CNM about $2.2 million next year, but will create an estimated $3.9 million in savings in the following years, President Katharine Winograd said.
"It does go a very long way in filling the gap," she said of retirement savings. "The fact that we aren't going to see it immediately means we're going to need to do some strategic planning."
An estimated 70 percent of the soon-to-be-vacant positions, including all teaching jobs, will be filled with younger employees earning less. The remaining positions will be cut. The projected savings of $3.9 million includes the cost of the new hires.
"The good news is it gives us an opportunity to actually meet with these individuals, have overlaps with (new-hires) if necessary, . . . creating some training opportunities for the employees who will be taking their place," Winograd said.
The college anticipated about 40 retirements when it proposed the retirement incentive payment, Winograd said. With more than double that number opting to leave, it will be a challenge to replace the loss of institutional experience, she said.
"We have to be very cautious of letting these individuals walk out of the institution without picking their brains about the kind of things we want to continue at the college," Winograd said.
Alan Pope, chair of the English Department, said in addition to the money, he agreed to retire early knowing it would help CNM.
Pope will have worked for CNM for 24 years when he leaves in August, earning a $24,000 buyout for leaving earlier than he may have otherwise.
"It was a hard decision personally, with or without this incentive, just because I do enjoy my work," he said. He is also glad to step aside knowing younger teachers will get a job opportunity at CNM.
The college estimates as many as 75 new employees will be hired over the next six months to fill some retirement vacancies.
While all colleges and universities across the state are struggling with budget cuts, CNM is the first in New Mexico to establish a retirement-incentive program.