Sept. 10, 2009

More budget cuts expected

by Erin Rosacker

Executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman told Professional and Scientific Council members at their Sept. 3 meeting that ISU administrators are anticipating a mid-year budget reversion and another "bad budget year" in FY2011 with additional cuts.

"Really, at this point, we're kind of guessing," Hoffman said.

The next meeting for the state revenue estimating conference, which determines the amount the governor will use for next year's budget, is Oct. 7. Hoffman said that the colleges have been asked to hold off on spending their advance commitment funds (unspent student tuition dollars from FY09). Centrally held advance commitment funds also will be reserved. She said ISU has $5 million in uncommitted federal ARRA funds that likely will be used to alleviate job cuts and improve students' education.

Council member Trevor Riedemann (Ames Laboratory) asked Hoffman if administrators are considering the implementation of another retirement incentive option (RIO) for budget savings.

"We are definitely talking about that," Hoffman said. "But we don't want anyone who retired last year to wish they had waited a year."

Policy approved

Council members approved (35-1-0) a motion to support proposed changes to the Dismissal, Reorganization or Financial Conditions policy. The policy applies to P&S employees who lose their positions due to "reorganization or severe financial conditions."

The proposed changes address the steps taken during the appeal process, but the council voted to suggest an additional change in one of the policy's guidelines. The change would give all employees dismissed under this policy the option to request outplacement services -- rather than only employees dismissed due to reorganization.

"We're not changing the policy," said Kevin DeRoos, chair of the policies and procedures committee. "We're asking the administration to look at that wording change and accept it. If the administration would consider it nonsubstantive, then they can accept that change, incorporate it and move on for immediate implementation of the policy."