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UW President Buchanan Responds to Executive Order Regarding Hiring and Spending Reductions


April 14, 2009 — University of Wyoming President Tom Buchanan on Monday sent the following memo to all UW employees in response to Gov. Freudenthal's Executive Order Regarding Hiring and Spending Reductions:

On April 7, 2009, Governor Dave Freudenthal issued an executive order regarding hiring and spending reductions for all state agencies. This order includes the following:

1) No agency shall recruit for or fill any position vacancy including at-will employee contract positions now existing or occurring after the date of this order without prior authority.

2) All agencies shall defer actions pertaining to reclassifications and promotions.

3) All agencies shall take steps to limit non-essential expenses such as travel, the purchase of supplies and equipment, and contractual services.

4) All agencies shall continue energy and resource conservation efforts to reduce utility expenses.

Even though the executive order does not explicitly apply to the University of Wyoming, the Governor has asked that, in the spirit of cooperation and in recognition of the state's fiscal circumstances, we cooperate to the extent possible. We will of course do so, and therefore are currently deliberating how best to comply with these mandates. The present memorandum is the first in what may be several needed to clarify and refine university processes in response to the Governor's executive order.

I want to make it clear that the university will not implement a hiring "freeze" but rather a hiring "squeeze." There are some positions critical to university operations that cannot remain vacant. For now, all positions that become vacant from retirement, resignation or termination will be reviewed and evaluated to determine if they are essential to the functioning of the university. Those positions deemed essential will receive authorization to initiate the search process. Those not deemed essential will be delayed or eliminated.

The university community will abide by the following rules and restrictions as we cooperate with the Governor's mandate. These measures, effective immediately, will also help ease the implementation of anticipated budget reductions from the state:

STAFF

1) Classified and at-will staff and administrator searches currently authorized and under way or currently seeking authorization.  All classified staff and at-will staff or administrator searches that are currently authorized and under way or that are currently seeking authorization will require review and determination as to whether the search, including advertisement, can proceed. This review will be conducted by the affected vice president and the Vice President for Administration. These two individuals will determine whether or not the search will continue or will be postponed.  All vice presidents will henceforth screen all hiring paperwork in their divisions. Further, as essential searches are concluded, it is critical that hiring authorities obtain explicit permission to hire before making offers. We must avoid the possibility of needing to retract offers after they are made.

2) Classified and at-will staff and administrator positions currently vacant. Any classified staff and at-will staff or administrator positions that are currently vacant will also require review and determination as to whether the positions are critical to fill. This review will take place by the affected vice president and the Vice President for Administration. The vice presidents will identify critical positions, based on requests from hiring authorities. All Section I programs will relinquish funds for positions that are not authorized. As a reminder, as stated in the Staff Central Salary Management Policy, funding for classified staff positions that are authorized will be set at 15 percent into the pay grade.

3) Classified and at-will staff positions currently vacant and unused for longer than six months. Any classified and at-will staff and administrator positions that are currently vacant and that have been unused for longer than six months will not be refilled. All Section I programs will relinquish funds assigned to these vacant positions as of today and funding budgeted for these positions in FY 2010 will be removed during the budget development process. Requests for exceptions must go through the affected vice president and receive approval from both that vice president and the Vice President for Administration. Exceptions will be rare.

4) Part-time staff positions. The hiring of part-time staff (hourly non-benefited), excluding student workers, will be subject to the same review process as outlined above for full-time benefited staff positions. All Section I programs will relinquish funds allocated for non-approved positions and funding budgeted for these positions in FY 2010 will be reduced during the budget development process.

5) Overtime. Effective today, employees who are not exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act will not be compensated for overtime work. However, these employees will be eligible for compensatory time.

FACULTY

6) Faculty searches currently authorized and under way or currently seeking authorization. Any tenure-track faculty or extended term academic professional searches that are currently authorized and under way or for which units are seeking authorization will require review by the Provost. The Provost will determine whether or not the search will continue or will be delayed. Any affected deans and directors will need to identify these searches to the Office of Academic Affairs no later than April 17 or risk loss of authorization.

7) Faculty positions currently vacant. Any tenure-track faculty and extended term academic professional positions that are currently vacant are subject to the standard central position management process conducted by the Office of Academic Affairs. There will be no further exigency requests authorized in FY 2009. Exigency authorizations will be much rarer in FY 2010 than they have been in previous fiscal years. Additionally, the amount of salary allocated to faculty positions authorized through central position management will be that required to hire at the entry level (assistant professor, assistant lecturer, etc.) except under extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Provost.

8) Part-time faculty positions. To allow the institution to respond adaptively to instructional commitments to students, there will be no "squeeze" on temporary instructional positions (such as temporary academic professionals). However, there will almost certainly be a reduction in support budget funds available to pay for these positions. This will not affect the 2009 summer session, which is self-supporting. However, academic units should begin preparing to offer fewer sections, starting in Fall 2009 and especially in Spring 2010, to accommodate anticipated reduction in support budget funds.

SECTION II EMPLOYEES

9) Section II employees. The rules and restrictions identified above apply to all Section II employees except for those exempted below. As a result, Section II units will accumulate salary savings in their respective units rather than reverting these funds immediately to the university. Salary savings accumulated in Section II programs will be reviewed at a later date for the potential to mitigate Section I budget reductions.

10) Externally-funded contracts and grants. All Section II externally-funded contracts and grants through the Office of Research and Economic Development are excluded from any hiring and spending restrictions. This exclusion includes pass-through grant funding to academic units from the School of Energy Resources and the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute. However, base faculty and staff positions associated with regular legislative funding from the university's Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute, Medical Education, and WICHE agency accounts are subject to the hiring restrictions outlined above.

NON-ESSENTIAL EXPENDITURES

11) Non-essential expenditures. I expect all units to be prudent with non-essential expenditures from this day forward. Every attempt should be made to minimize travel, the purchase of supplies and equipment, and contractual services. I will address the mandate to limit non-essential expenditures in a permanent way when budget allocations are made for FY 2010.

I regret having to institute these measures. However, as the Governor's executive order indicates, it is important for all state agencies to begin preparing for the effects of the recession on Wyoming's state budgets.

Posted on Sunday, April 12, 2009

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