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Washtenaw Community College considers converting part-time faculty to contract employees to avoid state pension contribution
Washtenaw Community College President Larry Whitworth has been campaigning for a change in Lansing that would allow new community college employees to opt out of the state’s ailing public school employee retirement system.

The roughly $35 billion retirement system that enrolls about 450,000 Michigan working and retired public school employees has lost $12.9 billion since early 2008.

“It’s a matter of being fiscally responsible,” Whitworth said. “This plan is based on the notion that people are incapable of managing their own resources.”

Whitworth wants new employees out of the old system and into a defined contribution plan similar to institutions like the University of Michigan.

The state constitution requires that community colleges offer a state retirement plan to all employees who are eligible, but a bill pending in the state Senate could change that.

And Whitworth isn’t waiting around for the Legislature - he’s also floating another idea.

He’d like the Board of Trustees to consider removing around 1,100 part-time employees from its payroll and rehiring them as contract employees, a move that would save around $1 million a year.
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