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Updated 10:00 AM June 8, 2009

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Library offers retirement incentives to some employees

Some U-M Library employees have been offered the equivalent of nine months salary to retire by the end of August.

The incentive was offered to all retirement-eligible library employees, excluding senior managers. They received the offer in a letter May 29. They have until July 15 to decide whether they will retire by Aug. 31 in order to collect the payment.

Director of Public Affairs Kelly Cunningham says individual university units can offer such retirement incentives at their discretion, and that is what the library chose to do in this case.

"The decision to offer an incentive program was internal to the library and applies to library employees only," Cunningham says.

Cunningham said 90 of the library's approximately 420 full-time employees are eligible.

The offer was outlined in an e-mail to all library employees from University Librarian Paul N. Courant, who said the staff reductions were needed to cut costs in a time of shrinking budgets and evolving electronic functions.

"As we all know, the work that the library does is changing; major reorganizations have already happened, and more are yet to come," Courant wrote. "Over the long term, it is my expectation that the total employment in the library will fall slightly, in response to both changing needs and the changing budget situation."

In the e-mail, Courant said the payment will be figured based on an employee's salary at the time of his or her retirement. They will have the choice of receiving the incentive as a one-time payment at the time of retirement or in two installments, one at the time of retirement and one in January.

Cunningham stresses the move is not a layoff, and that it is consistent with the library's efforts to continuously evolve and move people into more viable and innovative operations.

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