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Correction appended.

After being offered an early retirement package in November, 139 longtime staff members have made the decision to retire later this year.

The package was only open to those who would be 60 by June 30, 2010 and had worked at Brown 10 years or longer. Beppie Huidekoper, executive vice president for administration and finance, said the University's expectation was that those who took the package would take it "voluntarily and positively."

The package was comparable to those offered by peer institutions, Huidekoper said, adding that over 50 percent of those who were offered the package last year accepted it.

"The individuals who chose to take it are really quite pleased," Huidekoper said.

She suggested that many of those who decided to retire had already paid for their children's educations and did not have much demand on their income. The package included continued health insurance benefits if retirees were under 65.

Not all the positions vacated by early retirees can be filled because budgetary considerations played a significant part in last year's offer of the package. At the moment, there are 100 vacant positions at the University in addition to the positions that will be vacated by retirees at the end of the year.

If departments seek to fill a position, University protocol requires that they submit the request to the Vacancy Review Committee, which reviews whether the position is needed and recommends how the position description can be modified. Huidekoper, who sits on the committee, added that the VRC has typically assented to requests to fill positions in the Department of Public Safety and departments that handle researchfunding.

The ORC released a report on Feb. 2 that included $14 million in suggested cuts that President Ruth Simmons could recommend to the Corporation later this month. The group proposed that at least $1.15 million of the proposed savings come from unfilled vacancies.

But the committee is not strictly driven by budgetary concerns, she said. Vacancy reviews provide an opportunity for departments to reorganize in order to be more efficient and flexible, Huidekoper said.

"We shouldn't be static," she said, "The work is changing and the organization has to change."

The benefits of this dynamism are mitigated by the loss of many employees who have become part of the University's culture. "We need to ensure that we don't lose all that knowledge when they go," Huidekoper said.

But Huidekoper said new employees are still able to adapt to the University's environment. "I think this place acculturates quite quickly," she said. "Most people who aren't Brown alums wish they were."

The coming months may feature special efforts to recognize the staff who are leaving. "We want to celebrate those who want to go," Huidekoper said.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that departments must submit requests to fill vacancies to the Organizational Review Committee. In fact, they must submit requests to the Vacancy Review Committee. The Herald regrets the error.


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