Higher ed board puts off vote on retirement incentive

PROVIDENCE, RI – Higher Education officials will not be voting Monday on a controversial retirement incentive for state colleges and universities. The Board of Higher Education had scheduled a special meeting to consider the proposal. But a key committee failed to approve the plan this morning, saying it needs more time to study the issue.

The retirement incentive would provide a one-time payment to senior professors and professional employees who agree to step down. Officials at the University of Rhode Island say this will help trim their budget and build a faculty better suited to the university's academic priorities.

Some faculty members have criticized the plan, saying it shows a lack of consideration for the skills of experienced professors and other employees. The faculty union president at the University of Rhode Island called it "insulting" when the proposal was first introduced.

University of Rhode Island President David Dooley says he needs an answer by mid-March if he is going to implement the incentives in the coming academic year. At today's committee meeting, he testified that putting the plan in place by September would allow the university to realize savings for the current budget year.

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