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A Message From the President: Budget Reductions, Hiring Restrictions and Prudent Management of Expenditures

May 11, 2016

By President Richard C. McGinity

In recent weeks, the University of Wyoming has been asked to plan for the possibility of substantial reductions to our block grant funding from the state. Those reductions are no longer speculative, and UW now has an amount that is a firm reduction to its block grant.

In response to forecasts of deepening state revenue shortfalls, Gov. Matt Mead today ordered a reduction of $35 million to the University of Wyoming’s state appropriation for the 2017-18 biennium. The reduction is to the university’s biennial appropriation for recurring expenditures. It does not impact capital construction and other one-time state appropriations, because those are not part of the block grant. Put plainly, this is a reduction to the state appropriation for UW’s Section I budget, nearly 70 percent of which consists of funding from the state.

There is no question that the effects of this reduction will be felt across campus. It is likely that virtually every entity at UW will be affected by the reduced state appropriations. Despite this significant challenge, it is incumbent upon this university to maintain its commitment to the education of our students, research excellence and service to the state. It is essential that we work together thoughtfully and cooperatively in order to continue that commitment as the university addresses these reductions.

Plans to address the reduction are being discussed, and will eventually be finalized under the leadership of Dr. Laurie Nichols, who will begin her tenure as UW’s president this Monday, May 16. The FY 2017-18 biennium begins on July 1.

Recognizing the extraordinary circumstances brought on by the rapidly changing revenue picture, UW appreciates the clarity and timeliness of the governor’s instructions.

Given the magnitude of the reduction, the hiring restrictions that were put into place on Oct. 16 will be tightened. Any hiring will continue to require the approval of the president of the university. In general, positions associated with life, health and safety will likely be approved, as will Section III positions associated with research contracts. Those positions for which an offer has previously been approved by the president also may be filled. All others are to be held until a budget plan has been developed. In extremely rare cases, other positions may be may be filled with the approval of the president of the university.

With respect to prudent management of non-personnel expenditures, it is essential that each division severely restrict purchases of goods, services and travel outside of Wyoming during the current and coming fiscal years. If spending can be delayed until future years or avoided entirely without adversely affecting the university’s mission, units must do so.

My thanks for the university community’s attention and response to the state’s fiscal circumstances.

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