Oct. 15

Council asks for budgetary 'tools'

by Erin Rosacker

The executive board of the Professional and Scientific Council called its own emergency meeting of the full council a day before the Oct. 14 state Board of Regents meeting. P&S Council members voted overwhelmingly in favor of a pair of motions that recommend budget-saving "tools" to administrators.

Most of the discussion centered on a new motion that recommends the availability of furloughs for P&S staff to meet FY10 budget cuts.

"The intent of this particular motion is to request and recommend that furloughs again be considered as a tool for budget reduction for P&S staff, even if complications preclude their use for faculty and merit staff," said Kevin Kane, P&S vice president for university planning and budget.

Language in the motion included these supporting arguments:

  • P&S staff are adversely impacted because they do not have tenure or union contract protection
  • Nearly 60 percent of P&S staff responding to last spring's survey preferred furloughs to layoffs
  • Furloughs would keep experienced staff, avoiding the cost of hiring and training replacements later
  • Early implementation would give employees time to financially plan for reductions to their salaries

In answer to questions about implementation, timing and other specifics not contained in the motion, Kane said its intent is to "leave off any details ... and have our voice heard before the regents meet tomorrow."

The motion passed, 38-4.

More RIOs

The second motion, which passed unanimously, was a recommendation to implement another retirement incentive option (RIO) in 2010. This motion also failed to contain specifics -- such as suggested age or length of service requirements -- and a retirement deadline was eliminated.

"I think it takes the detail out of it, but more, it says that we really need and really want this," said Camille Schroeder, council president. "This is a different day, and a different year and a different budget. I think we have to act based on what we know."