College Board Approves Early Retirement Offering

College Board Approves Early Retirement Offering

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This article was updated to correct the health insurance funding amount approved by the board. It was originally reported the board approved $13,720 per retiree, but the actual amount is $13,273.

ROCK SPRINGS ­— Western Wyoming Community College will offer 18 employees an early retirement package following its approval Thursday evening by the college’s board of trustees.

According to Burt Reynolds, the college’s vice president for administrative services, the college has offered an early retirement package since 1997, when the policy was first implemented. The program examines the cost of an employee versus the cost to provide that same employee with their health benefits, 20% of their final year’s salary each year for a five-year period and the cost to replace that employee with an employee at a lower salary. The program is then offered to employees in situations where the college could save money by offering the package.

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Reynolds said the college could see savings of up to $225,000 over the next five years if every employee took advantage of the offer. However, Reynolds admits not every employee will take it.

An early retirement program isn’t unique to the college. Sweetwater County has offered early retirement programs at different points during the last decade. The county’s program is aimed to reduce payroll expenses by offering certain employees a buyout option, but differed from WWCC’s approach by also examining if the retiring employee’s position could be absorbed by other employees within a department and eliminating positions that were redundant.

The board voted to approve the program and a $13,273 health insurance stipend per potential retiree, with Treasurer Stephen P. Allen voting against the initiative.

Before the retirement discussion, Allen said he wasn’t aware of the early retirement initiative prior to Thursday’s meeting. Allen told the board he should receive every fiscal item prior to other members of the board, claiming the college’s policies state he is personally liable for every dollar flowing into and leaving the college. Along with receiving fiscal items before other board members, he also asked for access to the college’s finance director to better understand funding at the college. Allen told the board he seeks clarification on his role and responsibilities, believing protocol practiced at the college restricts him from serving his duties.

“I personally don’t feel that’s correct,” Board President Jim Jessen replied.