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Auditor criticizes UH retirement incentives

Honolulu Advertiser, May 9, 2003

The University of Hawai'i should either eliminate or fix the school's 20-year-old early retirement incentive program, state Auditor Marion Higa said in a report released yesterday.

The program was set up in 1983 to save personnel costs, retain experienced staff and give advancement opportunities to junior faculty, but it has become "a unique university perk that fails to meet its goals and is poorly managed," Higa said.

Some employees get dual retirement incentives overlapping from the state's early retirement incentive program begun in 1995, she said.

The cost savings goal was subverted by replacing the early retirees with more highly paid replacements, Higa said.

In some cases the early retirees are replaced by rehiring retirees as casual employees, she said.

University officials responded to Higa's report, saying they have begun to address some of her concerns and will review the merits of continuing the program.

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