Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Furloughs--Again

There has been a fairly good discussion of furloughs being carried on by some of you via this blog. I would like to try to make a couple of things clear. Should it come to a question of taking the furlough or being "laid off" then the furlough is the better of two rotten choices. However, the real question is, "Should it come to this?" This blog has been asking for over a year for a real accounting of how much money comes in, how much is spent and where it is spent. Are furloughs necessary because of a significant drop in funding or because we are funding pet projects, friends and bonuses? This administration has taken the word transparency out of its vocabulary. (That assumes it was ever there to begin with.) In the past, the university's budget, The Blue Book, was always available in its printed form in the library. That is no longer true. If you wish, you may request certain parts of the budget, but not the whole thing. The goal is to make the gathering of information difficult for those who are interested but not part of the inner circle. Those being considered for lay offs or furloughs have a right to know that there are real reasons this has to take place. So far this administration has not been forthcoming with those reasons.

5 comments:

Walt Olson said...

The question of whether or not a furlough is needed is a very difficult question to answer. If a furlough is needed, it is because the university "busted its budget." A furlough was not part of the budget approved by the Board of Trustees last Summer.

So then the next question becomes, "How did the University bust its budget?" Here the answer would be relatively clear if we had access to the expenditures that the university made and could compare them to budget. We, the faculty, cannot.

There are three major reasons why budgets are broken:
1) The anticipated revenues were not realized and expenditures continued to be made.
2) Expenditures in excess of what was planned were made.
3) Insufficient contingency funds were budgeted and set aside to cover the risks imposed by the assumptions made to make the budget.

For years, this university has not set aside sufficient contingency funds to cover assumption risk. Except for contingencies as mandated by State Law, this university has been incapable of setting aside contingency funding. During planning of the budget every dollar that could be allocated to an anticipated expenditure was allocated despite the risks that must be taken to prepare a budget. As a result, this university cannot sustain the penalty of a bad budgeting assumption. Therefore, I would guess that #3 above is a major factor if a financial emergency exists.

Consider for a minute your family budget: you plan for food, clothes, shelter, vehicles, recreation and the costs of your debt load. Hopefully you also plan for your savings and rainy day moneys. Good financial advisors suggest that you have a half year of salary in liquid assets for contingency. This is precisely what this university is not doing.

We, as a university, plan to spend to great of a fraction of our revenues. For as long as I have been a Professor here at this university, each year has required a budget cut. This is the outcome of poor budget planning with respect to contingency. Some of these cuts were made midterm. Because of the failure of the university budgeting process to insure sufficient contingencies exist, programs were halted midstream, insufficient faculty were hired, workloads increased, staff have been reduced both by attrition and layoffs, repairs to our facilities were put off or just plain neglected, recruitment activities for graduate students have been decreased, and most importantly, the morale of this institution has suffered. We are not a good as we should be because of our poor planning.

Professor Walter Olson

Anonymous said...

We need to able to compare our expenditures to the budget approved by the Board of Trustees. We spend too much... why?

sirLawrence said...

for those interested, here is the membership of the "furlough committee":

John Barrett
Julie Bejarano
Sheri Caldwell
Robert Demory
John Gaboury
Joseph Klep
Tobin Klinger
Deborah Krohn
Eric Langenderfer
Matt Lockwood
Bill Logie
Laura Miller
Erin Momenee
Connie Rubin
Janelle Schaller
Lisa Simpson
Linda Torbet
Kevin West
Jeffery Witt

Anonymous said...

Look out, facts! Sir Lawrence that sort of information has no place here. Conjecture and uninformed opinions only please, people.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lawrence. This list of names invites closer inspection into the machinations that spawned the Jacobs Furlough Plan. But first, let’s observe this statement published in the UTNews report of January 21st titled “Furlough plan ready for implementation should need arise”:

“The University of Toledo is poised to rapidly implement a furlough program should the need arise, thanks to the work of a broadly representative committee that has been fleshing out details for the past several months."

It turns out that the “broadly representative committee” is officially called the “Cost Saving Committee” by President Jacobs, who elaborates: “The Cost Savings Committee was made up of representatives from Faculty Senate, the Professional Staff Association, Human Resources, Finance, University Communications and other areas of campus that intimately would be involved with a successful implementation, according to Jacobs.”

Note that this is an “implementation committee” much in the same way the creation of the A&S Roundtable Report was driven almost entirely by an “implementation committee” consisting mainly of appointed UT employees holding administrative ranks.

The fact is that the Jacobs Furlough Plan is not the creation of “a broadly representative committee” comprised of those UT rank and file faculty and staff employees that will be eventually impacted furloughed by The Plan. No. Instead, the “Cost Savings Committee” member names include again appointee-administrators who will either benefit by conspiring against their hard-working brothers and sisters employed by UT or risk having their asses demoted or fired if The Plan backfires, founders or fails.

Members of the representative “The Cost Savings Committee” that drafted this Jacobs Furlough Plan currently hold these positions at UT:

Director of the Student Recreation Center
Sr. Director Faculty Labor Relations
Associate General Counsel
Manager Labor and Employee Relations
Labor and employee relation specialist
Associate professor (Law School)
Payroll Manager
Controller
Dean of University Libraries
Part-time instructor (of human resources management)
Manager, Labor Relations
Senior Director University Communications
Assistant Director
Assistant Director
VP for Human Relations/Campus Safety
Director (Benefits)
Clinical Recruiter
Sr. Director of Labor/Employee Relations