“I am offered a handshake, but it ain’t golden”

Carmelita Islas Mendez

A Supplemental Employee Retirement Plan was adopted at a recent Board of Trustees meeting with no objections, but one abstention.

The meeting was held on Dec. 6 at 7 pm where a closed-session discussion was held to debate the approval or disapproval of SERP.

Strong sentiments were expressed at the meeting by Cerritos College employees which asked board member to reconsider the adoption of Resolution #17-1206 A which offered the Plan, also called a “golden handshake.”

The SERP was being considered by the board for possibly saving Cerritos College $3,292,600 over a five year period.

The Association of Cerritos College Management Employees Sandy Marks said the difference of opinions was due to, “offering faculty and classified non-management employees a 70 percent of their final pay over a five year annuity and management employees being offered a one lump sum payment of $40,000.”

Marks also said, “While a second conversation with President Fierro did help to explain in more detail about the SERP and the offer to the managers, there has not been enough time to have a thorough discussion with all of our managers again and to share that information with them.”

Marks continued by saying, “We are asking to be valued the same for our years of service. We are asking to be given the same certificate of appreciation package.”

The SERP requires that 26 faculty and 17 classified non-management staff employees participate or the Plan may be terminated at the discretion of the board.

Other Cerritos College employees attended the meeting to express their dissatisfaction with the offer expressing the sentiment that the handshake was anything but golden.

David Fabish, dean of liberal arts, spoke in front of the board to say, “You are unique in the potential that you would be that first board to treat one employee group worse that another.”

Vice-president of the board Dr. Shin Liu said, “They work hard and I am sorry that we do not have the money to offer more.”

Fabish asked the board, “How will the campus community overall see this SERP in terms of fairness and equity if the administrations and the board of trustees abandons long help principles of fairness and equity for one group, what does that suggest about how they would treat any other group?”

Marks recommended to the board that working with ACCME was something that should be considered to try to appease all Cerritos College employees.

Liu abstained from voting and explained by saying, “The managers who was in faculty before, I was hoping we could appreciate their longevity, but we also need to consider the fiscal and the need to save the College money.”