February 12, 2009

The Board of Regents of Washington State University held a special meeting at 8:30 a.m., on Thursday, February 12, 2009, to consider adoption of a Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program for Employees in the Washington State University Retirement Plan. The meeting was held in French Administration 422, Pullman, Washington. The Regents, President Floyd, and others joined via teleconference.

Present via teleconference:  Regent Francois Forgette, Chair; Regents, Theodor Baseler, Scott Carson, Harold Cochran, Elizabeth Cowles, Laura Jennings, Connie Niva, and Michael Worthy;  and President Elson S. Floyd.

Present in Pullman: Provost and Executive Vice President Warwick Bayly, Senior Assistant Attorney General Antoinette Ursich, Executive Director of Budget and Planning Joan King, Assistant Vice President for Business and Finance Barry Johnston, Sr. Associate Vice President for Business and Finance Richard Heath, and Executive Assistant to the Board of Regents Christine Hoyt.

1.  Report from the Vice Chair of the Board of Regents.  Regent Francois Forgette called the meeting to order.  He asked Christine Hoyt to conduct roll call to ensure the presence of each of the Board members.  Regent Forgette stated that the purpose of the special meeting of the Board of Regents was to consider the adoption of the Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program for WSU Employees in the WSU Retirement Plan.  He said that this proposal was discussed at the January 29, 2009, Board of Regents Finance and Audit Committee meeting.  He added that the Regents had a favorable response to the proposal and asked President Floyd to further refine the proposal for Regents’ consideration.  Regent Forgette then asked Regent Worthy, Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee, if he would like to make additional comments before turning the floor to President Floyd.

Regent Worthy reported that this is a proactive and comprehensive approach to a challenge that we all need all accept and that it is going to result in some staff reductions at Washington State University. He said that this proposal gives WSU employees an opportunity to take advantage of some planning by overcoming one of the key financial challenges they may face in their personal circumstances and that  it is a proactive and appropriate proposal to move forward.  He said that employees will have a wide range of questions about its implications, but he think it is an outstanding first step. He also said the nature of the action item does not contain particular forecasts as to how many people might come forward, but that it is step in the right direction. 

Board of Regents Minutes

February 12, 2009

2. Report from the President of the University.  President Elson S. Floyd reported that the in an effort to provide as many tools to the administration as possible to deal with this daunting financial crisis that our nation and the state of Washington are engaged in, his administrative team felt that at least offering a Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive for Washington State University employees is an appropriate step.  He said that it is difficult to know how many individuals will ultimately make the decision to sign up for early retirement, but that it is another tool in responding to the fiscal crisis that is impacting the University.  He said that they have alerted the Governor’s office, as well as key senators and representatives, about this proposal and that they have been supportive of Washington State University pursuing as many creative ideas as possible to address the fiscal crisis.  He noted that the proposal that is in front of them would impact only those administrative professional employees and faculty who participate in the WSU retirement plan.  He said that the Board of Regents currently do not have the authority to provide a Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive for classified employees within Washington State University, but he has met with the executive director of the Washington State Federation of State Employees regarding support of legislation which we would introduce a similar option for classified employees.  

Following discussion among the Board and University officials, the Board took the following action:

Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program for Employees in the Washington State University Retirement Plan.  It was moved and seconded that the Board of Regents approve the Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program for Employees in the Washington State University Retirement Plan (WSURP) as set forth and the Board also authorized the President or his designee(s) to offer the inventive to any eligible member of the Washington State University Retirement Plan. Carried.

At 9:00 a.m. the Regents’ Meeting adjourned.

Approved by the Board of Regents at its meeting held March 27, 2009, Consolidated Information Center, Room 120, Richland, Washington.