Wayne Watson says he’s volunteering at Chicago State University for the next two months because state pension rules keep him from going to work so soon after leaving the City Colleges of Chicago.
“(I’m) going through a process of becoming oriented to the university, meeting with people, listening to them, learning, and sharing with them some of my insights,” Watson says.
And he says the two to three days a week he’s spending on campus have been “an extremely positive experience.”
He added that he’s not using the university house or car that will be provided as part of his compensation package. Dr. Sandra Westbrooks, CSU’s provost, is running the university, officials said earlier this week.
The Daily News talked to Watson yesterday during a break in a parent orientation session he says he was attending on campus. In the background during the phone call, several people could be heard stopping to greet him, including a tour guide with students in tow who said she was excited to see Watson on campus.
Watson says he won’t start as president until Oct. 1 – not Aug. 1 as stated in his contract – because the State Universities Retirement System of Illinois requires pensioners to take a 60-day break between jobs.
He says he’s not sure why someone didn’t catch the pension issue before he signed his contract in April.
“We’re taking a look at that,” Watson says. “It was just something that was probably missed.”
His contract has not been formally amended yet. CSU’s Board of Trustees must meet to do that, and its next regular meeting is next month.