Auditor critical of
UH early retirement

The University of Hawaii should either eliminate or fix the school's 20-year-old early retirement incentive program, state Auditor Marion Higa says.

The program was set up in 1983 to save personnel costs, retain experienced staff and give advancement opportunities to junior faculty, but it has become "a unique university perk that fails to meet its goals and is poorly managed," Higa said in a report released Thursday.

Some employees get dual retirement incentives overlapping from the state's early retirement incentive program begun in 1995, she said.

The cost savings goal was subverted by replacing the early retirees with more highly paid replacements, Higa said. In some cases the early retirees are replaced by rehiring retirees as casual employees, she said.

University officials responded to Higa's report, saying they have begun to address some of her concerns and will review the merits of continuing the program.

John Radcliffe, UHPA associate executive director, said: "The most significant reason for any problems which might exist regarding hiring retirees back into the system is due to the fact that UH faculty are generally paid so poorly that qualified candidates cannot be found to be hired.

"Therefore, the only qualified people who are willing to work at the wages provided are people already retired. If the government wants to correct the situation, it can attempt to compete with other colleges and universities -- who often pay twice as much for talent. Currently the government is offering no pay raises at all for professors for two years."

University of Hawaii
UH Professional Assembly

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