With Early Retirement Incentive, Employees Plan Their New Lives

January 1, 2011

Omar St. Denny, 55, was a database administrator in the Office of Special Programs. His last day of work was Nov. 19, 2010. Interviewed a few days earlier, he said that he would use his new-found free time to work on his computer-programming business, which helps people compile statistics for dissertations. St. Denny, who lives in Montclair, N.J., said he decided to take early retirement after “my wife and I did the numbers” and he determined that he would receive about a third of his salary for years to come.  He has worked happily at CUNY since 1975, he said, and was mentored on new developments in his field by the late Louis Hofmann, head of research in the Office of Special Programs. St. Denny also said that as a retiree, he’ll now mow the lawn, try to swim every day and may work part time at CUNY. His father-in-law, who ran the boat basin under the George Washington Bridge, retired 40 years ago and is now 95, and he told St. Denny “that the first year, the hardest thing is that you have no structure. You have to learn to pace your time.”

Imelda Redito, director of Human Resources at Hostos Community College, will be taking early retirement in January. She began her career at CUNY 18 years ago, starting as deputy director of Human Resources at York College, moving up to the director’s position and then moving to Hostos 12 years ago. She emphasizes that CUNY is a “learning environment” and in her retirement she hopes to keep learning. “I’d like to know more about music and history. I’d like to travel,” she says. She has already begun to take online classes including one entitled “Classical Understanding of Beethoven’s Symphonies.” She is also hoping to go to India. “I spent 30 days in China and got the travel bug,” she adds.

Gloriana B. Waters, vice chancellor for Human Resources Management, says that in 2009 only 2.4 percent of CUNY employees left voluntarily.  “People don’t leave CUNY. They love it here.” She speaks about the opportunities early retirement affords. “For CUNY, it enables us to do a little bit of re-energizing … and this enables others to go on to the next chapter in their lives.”

Those who are interested should not delay. For details on eligibility see: search.cuny.edu and enter “earlyretirement”.

Data Bank

The 2010 CUNY Early Retirement Incentive Program was approved by the CUNY Board of Trustees in June, and is in the process of being implemented.  The ERI is comprised of two parts (A & B):

  • Part A of the ERI is for instructional and classified staff employees age 50 and above who have at least 10 years of service, and who participate in TRS/ERS/BERS or TIAA-CREF.
  • As of Nov.  21, 2010, a total of 71 instructional staff members and 220 classified staff members had chosen to participate in the ERI, for a total of 291.
  • The open period for classified staff in Part A closed on Nov. 24, 2010.  The open period for instructional staff begins on Dec. 29, 2010 and closes on Jan. 27, 2011.
  • Part B of the ERI was for employees in a defined benefit plan (TRS, ERS or BERS) who were age 62 or older and had 25 years or more of creditable service. Enrollment for Part B closed on Sept. 27, 2010.

There were 32 participants, comprised of 7 instructional and 25 classified staff members.