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Pitt To Trim Staff By At Least 300

Trying to offset a $47 million cut in its state appropriation for operations this fiscal year and another anticipated reduction in the next budget, the University of Pittsburgh has initiated a voluntary Early Retirement Plan.

"We didn't want to lay people off," said Robert Hill, vice chancellor for public affairs. "So the voluntary early retirement program was established so that there would be a more orderly reduction in staff levels."

672 employees are eligible: non-union, non-faculty, non-executive staff members, 59 years or older with a minimum of ten years of continuous service as full-time or regular part-time. So far, more than 300 have accepted early retirement, which takes effect June 30. The deadline to accept the package is June 15 and according to Hill, about 270 employees have yet to respond.

"We didn't have a particular number goal, but we knew how many were eligible under this plan and it would create substantial savings without completely disrupting the quality of the academic programs," Hill said.

He said that remaining staff will pick up additional duties so programs do not suffer.

"There will be restructuring, reorganizing, because we do want to maintain our momentum," Hill said. "We cannot compromise quality to save money, so this program is designed to further those goals and efforts."

According to Pitt's website, the university has 12,435 employees. Hill would not say whether university officials are considering layoffs to trim costs. In February, Governor Tom Corbett proposed 20% to 30% cuts in appropriations for the 14 state-owned universities and 4 state-related universities including Pitt in the 2012-13 fiscal year. With revenue projections improving, some state lawmakers have tried to reduce the size of those funding cuts.