Campus News

President will ask board of regents to create ORP oversight committee

The University Council endorsed a faculty committee’s recommendation that the board of regents more closely scrutinize the operation and performance of the Optional Retirement Program.

The council approved a motion from its Faculty Benefits Committee that President Michael F. Adams ask the regents to create an oversight committee for the ORP, a retirement plan mainly available to faculty members.

Janet Frick, chair of the Faculty Benefits Committee, said the proposed oversight committee would function in a similar way to a committee that monitors the Teachers Retirement System.

The ORP is a “defined contribution” program, meaning that benefits depend on the performance of companies in which program funds are invested.

Frick said a subcommittee of the Faculty Benefits Committee compared the ORP and TRS plans and concluded that the ORP doesn’t give participants sufficient information about the program’s performance. New faculty members, who must choose between the two plans, don’t have enough information about ORP to make an informed decision, and there is no mechanism to measure ORP customer service and client satisfaction, she said.

The Faculty Benefits Committee’s request suggests that the proposed oversight committee conduct an audit or financial review of the ORP and take actions to “ensure adequate retirement benefits within reasonable expectations” for a defined contribution plan. The oversight committee would be systemwide, monitoring the ORP for all institutions in the University System of Georgia.

Frick also told the council that the Faculty Benefits Committee will look into other issues including a study conducted several years ago on the feasibility of a campus daycare center for children of faculty and staff, and the possibility of sabbaticals for faculty.

Nancy Felson, a classics professor who is chair of the council’s Executive Committee for this academic year, said one of her goals is to get faculty to “take a more active role and be more invigorated and energized on matters of faculty and staff governance.” She urged faculty members to bring problems and matters of concern to the attention of the Executive Committee or the Faculty Conference, a group that meets periodically to discuss issues of interest to faculty.