University expects fewer resignations

Although several high profile University officials are set to leave GW at the end of the academic year, a University financial officer said other GW employees are reluctant to leave their positions in the sluggish economy, and the University will not save any funds this year due to vacancies.

Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz said the University traditionally plans for $5 million in salary savings each year, and usually saves between $3 million and $7 million annually when employees choose to resign or retire. Last year, however, the University didn’t reach its savings goal.

“Last year, because of how bad the economy was, we did not hit our salary savings number, because very few people left,” Katz said.

Katz added that he does not think the University will see any salary savings this year either, despite the resignations from Laurel Price-Jones, former head of the Office of Development; Mary Futrell, dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development; Susan Phillips, dean of the School of Business; University Police Chief Dolores Stafford; and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman. Lehman and Phillips will step down from their positions but will remain at the University in some capacity after this academic year.

“When people leave and the position is vacant, sometimes that saves us money and sometimes that doesn’t save us money,” Katz said. “In the interim you may well be paying more because you may bring somebody in on contract, and when you bring somebody in on contract you end up paying more than hiring a permanent employee.”

Additionally, Katz said that given the state of the economy and difficult financial times for many higher education institutions, many University employees are not leaving their positions.

“I would expect this year we will have less salary savings than normal,” Katz said. “I think we will have some but not as much as the $5 million. In fact we are assuming we will not have the $5 million this year.”

Lehman said he thinks “that some faculty members have delayed their retirements owing to what may have occurred with their retirement accounts.”

“Such happenings certainly make people ask the key question: do I have enough resources to have the retirement situation I seek?” Lehman said in an e-mail.

Forrest Maltzman, chair of the department of political science, said a lack of retirements is hindering his department from hiring new talent. Maltzman said the political science department currently only has one opening, and is reviewing 200 applicants for that one spot.

“Even for universities such as GW that have managed their resources wisely and thus do not see the recession as clearly as… other universities, the lack of retirements precludes us from taking as great an advantage of the weak job market as I would like,” he said.

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