By ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Clinton Community College will restore the positions of all four teaching faculty who were tagged for layoff in 2013-14.
Assistant professors Ian Burcroff, Sami Jeskanen and Michael Zerrahn and associate professor Angela Alphonso will return to their classrooms this fall despite being among the 10 college employees notified last November that their positions had been cut due to an anticipated $600,000 budget gap.
The restorations, which are expected to be ratified by the CCC Board of Trustees at its April meeting, were made possible by five senior faculty members who recently accepted an early-retirement incentive.
The net savings associated with the five retirements is $398,824.
The incentive provides retirees with various amounts of cash, depending on their years of service, according to Clinton Community President John Jablonski.
“As a result of the retirement incentive, we’re able to bring back those four individuals and the four positions that they hold.
“It’s a really good example about how we came to mutual gain, a win-win situation, for the faculty and the college,” he said.
One of the retirees will be replaced at an introductory salary, according to Jablonski, while four of the vacated positions will be filled on a part-time basis.
Those who accepted the retirement offer, according to CCC Faculty Association President Catherine Eloranto, did not previously have plans to retire at the end of this year.
“The reason they did retire was not for the money but for the fact that it would save their colleagues’ jobs,” she said.
Eloranto, who proposed the incentive to the college’s board and administration in February, said she worked very hard to come up with a plan that would be appealing to all parties involved.
That proposal was approved by the board at its March meeting.
“It’s been a very positive dialogue over the past several weeks that we’ve had with the Faculty Association,” said Jablonski, who added that Eloranto’s leadership has been instrumental throughout the process.
The association also proposed a retirement incentive last November that it estimated would save the college $1.3 million over the next five years; however, that proposal was rejected by the college’s administration.
Jablonski told the Press-Republican in November that the offer was unattractive to CCC because it asked the college to pay more retiree health-insurance costs than it does now.
“The provisions of the (new) retirement incentive are much more practical for the college and still provide a good incentive for the faculty who have retired,” he said Tuesday.
By retaining the four teaching faculty members, Eloranto noted, the college is able to continue with its core mission of providing a high level of education to its students.
Jeskanen teaches history, political science, economics and geography at the college; Alphonso teaches health and physical education and recreation; and Zerrahn and Burcroff teach business and humanities, respectively.
“We are very relieved that we were able to keep our four colleagues from losing their jobs,” Eloranto said.
Still, she noted, her organization has concerns that other positions may be at risk in the future.
“We can’t help but be concerned about what the future still holds,” Eloranto said.
Several positions remain tagged for layoff in 2013-14, she said, and her organization is working hard to restore those, as well.
Discussions regarding such restorations are under way, according to Jablonski, who added that being able to retain four teaching faculty members “was a big step forward.”
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