Today's Question: How should the UM System deal with budget woes?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 | 11:28 a.m. CDT; updated 10:04 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In an effort to save costs, University of Missouri System president Gary Forsee announced last week that the four-campus system will cut 15 more jobs by July, which brings the total of positions eliminated up to 22 since March.

UM System spokeswoman Cindy Pollard said cutting, and then not filling those positions will save the system more than $2 million in salary, benefits and operating costs.

According to a news release, the eliminated positions are expected to free up budget support for strategic priorities enacted by Forsee. According to Betsy Rodriguez, UM System vice president for human resources, there will not be a negative effect on the Columbia campus or students.

“Hopefully, as these strategic initiatives get funded, you’ll see positive effects,” she said, referring to a more efficient system administration.

Rodriguez said there might be future job eliminations.

“It’s hard to predict the future,” she said. “It’s hard for us to be able to  know what to do — but the economy is quite unstable.”

The Columbia Daily Tribune noted that in a letter, Forsee told faculty that the vice president for academic affairs position — previously filled by Gordon Lamb until his March retirement — will remain vacant for at least one more year. The position's duties will be spread out among several other people.

Forsee also said that the systemwide hiring freeze — instituted in November — will continue for another year. Thirty administrative vacancies have not been filled, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune report.

Is this the best way for the UM System to cut costs and deal with the unstable economy?


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