Univ. Of Illinois Will Try To Retain Faculty Who Retired Under Wrong Pension Interpretation

May 14, 2014

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

  Officials at the University of Illinois say they are willing to work to retain faculty who opted to retire early as a result of mistakes in the state's pension overhaul.

It was a small typo, but it turned out to have big consequences for the state's public universities and community colleges.

The pension overhaul law that passed late last year said that university employees would lose pension benefits if they didn't retire before July 1, 2013. It also changed the way benefits were calculated. Both provisions caused a rush of people looking to retire, and not enough retirement counselors to help them navigate those waters.

That's no longer an issue; a judge has put a halt on the pension law entirely.

But it may be too late for employees who already submitted their retirement paperwork.

University of Illinois Board Chairman Chris Kennedy says the school will do everything it can if people have changed their minds and now want to "un-retire."

"We'll be super flexible with current employees and former employees to try to make their life easy," he said. "We're not rule-oriented, we're not going to try to stop people ... because of a lack of clarity in state law."

Meanwhile, at a board meeting in Springfield, trustees approved a preliminary budget for the University.