Senate Source

August 2010


Letter from Chair Powell to Faculty about the Post Employment Benefits Task Force Recommendations


For more than a year the Post Employment Benefits Task Force has been engaged in deliberation in response to President Yudof's call for a redesign of post-employment benefits for future employees. Three task forces have reviewed Pensions, Health Benefits and Finance under the oversight of the PEB Steering Committee chaired by Provost Pitts.  The task forces have included Senate representatives with special experience related to faculty welfare and pension benefits.  At the end of this month the PEB report will be generally distributed and accompanied by a detailed executive summary.  The appendix to the report will include a statement from faculty and staff members of the task forces in which dissenting opinions and the arguments in support of these points will be made along with areas of agreement between faculty and administration members of the PEB task forces.  All of these materials will be sent to the divisional senates for review and in the course of that review will be seen by the Academic Council and the Academic Assembly.  In preparation for that review process the Academic Council and key standing committees of the Council as well as the divisional senates on each of the campuses have heard from both the Senate leadership and the administration during several series of campus visits to discuss the PEB process and solicit opinion from faculty and staff.  In the coming months the UC Regents will take up issues related to PEB including a reset of annual contributions, amortization of unfunded accrued liability and in December, PEB design for new employees.


We gratefully acknowledge that Provost Pitts, as chair of the Post Employment Benefits Task Force Steering Committee, and Randy Scott, Executive Director, Talent Management & Staff Development, have been responsive to many editorial and substantive suggestions for the Executive Summary and Final Reports provided by Senate representatives in the process.  We highlight the fact that this process, while extraordinarily difficult and sometimes contentious, was based on robust consultation between the Academic Senate and members of THE administration.  We are proud of the hard work and substantial contribution of many of our faculty colleagues as we worked through difficult and technical complexities towards recommendations.  While we do not agree with all of the recommendations that emerged from the Task Force, we acknowledge that the report generally represents a fair description of the issues considered by the Task Force, although we would have preferred more detailed description of options considered but not endorsed by the Steering Committee.


Chair-elect Simmons and I hope that the materials to be distributed in the coming days will provide ample food for thought on some of the most consequential matters on which the Senate has been invited to deliberate.  In considering these matters to date our faculty colleagues have born in mind the critical necessity to maintain competitive remuneration for faculty and staff as UC works to maintain quality in times of acute and chronic diminution in state support for higher education.


Fiat lux,


Henry C Powell