UI retirees

Published 06/25 2012 06:12PM

Updated 06/27 2012 12:16PM

CHAMPAIGN -- Mary-Ellen O'Shaugnessey has worked at the UI for more than 30 years. 

"I came to the university in 1977 and my first job was in the university student health center and I came as the health educator," Executive Assistant Dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts Mary-Ellen O'Shaugnessey said. 

But this week she's packing and preparing for a retirement she didn't see coming. 

"My original plans were to retire in 2013. We're getting a new dean in this college, we're fairly slimly staffed and I wanted to stay for a year just to help the dean get settled in," O'Shaugnessey said. 

Changes to how the state calculates retiree payouts made her think twice. Now, she's retiring a year earlier than anticipated

"It really has to do with the economics. I'm on the money purchase plan in terms of my annuity and if I don't retire by July 2nd I'm going to lose 7-8% of my annuity and it will take anywhere from 12-18 months to make that up," O'Saughnessey said. 

This pension reform caused the number of workers retiring from the UI to nearly double. Many of these retirements were unexpected.

"A number of us weren't prepared to retire. We really thought we had two or three more years and a number of things we wanted to accomplish," O'Saughnessey said.

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