The faculty union opposes an early retirement plan being offered by the district and insists that the plan is a “negotiations ploy” designed to get faculty back to the bargaining table, a union official said.

The Board of Trustees adopted the Supplemental Employee Retirement Plan (SERP) at its Nov. 20 meeting. The SERP is a retirement incentive that gives the employee an extra 75% of his or her base salary as retirement income in addition to the retirement income he or she will receive from STRS or PERS or social security, according to general counsel Gail Cooper.

“The incentive is paid out as an annuity typically over five years,” Cooper said. “But there are other payout options available.”

Faculty Association President Roger Marheine said that he and other faculty felt that Superintendent Mark Rocha and the district were attempting to divide the faculty by offering the SERP to eligible college staff and not members of the FA.

“The current offer of a SERP to all staff, excluding faculty, is a negotiations ploy on the District’s part,” Marheine said. “Aside from wreaking havoc with students’ schedules, clerical staff, and deans, the gross injustice of president Rocha’s dismissal of faculty, undermined any future SERP offer. It is sad that gross mismanagement once again undermined our efforts in the FA to assist with district fiscal responsibility.”

According to Cooper, the faculty would be eligible for the SERP if the District and PCC Faculty Association have a contract in place by the election date of January 13, 2014, or a negotiated extension of that date.

Student Trustee Simon Fraser said that he thought that anything that could get the FA and district talking in good faith would be a good thing.

“The FA has the right to negotiate for what they want, as does the district,” Fraser said. “I don’t get to vote on these closed session items, but I hope all sides can come together and be in agreement soon.”

Marheine said that he wrote the original SERP proposal three years ago and still wholeheartedly supported it. SERP helps the college save money, thus fulfilling its fiduciary responsibility.

He said that SERP was a “win-win,” as senior faculty who had made significant contributions to the college could be recognized for their productive careers.

“The problem however, has been the treatment of retirees by president Rocha,” Marheine said. “Retirees for over four decades of past practice had been invited to return as part time faculty. Note that the PCCFA agreed to a compensation schedule that placed them on par with all other part time faculty. President Rocha, however, fired 45 retirees just days before spring semester, 2012.”

In an email sent out to eligible employees, Human Resources Director Terri Hampton stated that workshops would be offered to those who were interested in the retirement plan. The first workshop will be on Tuesday, Jan. 7 from 9 am to 1 pm.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.