Floyd proposes 10-percent cut in UM administrative costs

Friday, December 2, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:54 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 13, 2008

KANSAS CITY — Elson Floyd, president of the University of Missouri System, proposed on Friday reducing administrative costs by 10 percent in the system and on each of the four campuses.

At the UM Board of Curators meeting, Floyd said the proposal would consolidate programs and services to improve efficiency. He suggested using vacancies, retirements and changes in employment status to cut costs.

A 10 percent cut at MU would be worth about $6.2 million; system-wide, it would be about $12.5 million.

Floyd asked campus chancellors and system vice presidents to report on possible ways to achieve the cuts in April. If approved by the board, the changes would take effect in July.

“I suggest the board endorse both the proposal and the timetable,” said Curator Doug Russell.

Curator Don Walsworth agreed.

“This is not a punishment,” Walsworth said. “This is to make education affordable.”

Also at Friday’s meeting, board members elected a new president and vice president for 2006, approved a name for MU’s research park at South Farm and received an update on the system’s economic development. Angela Bennett, who has served as vice president, was elected president, and Walsworth was chosen to be vice president. Both were unanimously elected.

The new offices will be effective Jan. 1, 2006. Maria Curtis, the student representative on the board who attends the University of Missouri-St. Louis, expressed her support of Bennett as the next president. “I really appreciate your decision,” Curtis told the curators. If students recognize any of the curators' names, it is Bennett’s, she said.

The board also unanimously approved a new name for MU’s 58-acre research park on South Farm. The area will be called Discovery Ridge.

“We feel that is a name that distinguishes that park is important,” said John Gardner, UM System vice president for research and economic development.

Curator Walsworth questioned whether naming the park would take away from potential funding sources. Walsworth asked if it’d be possible to rename the park in the event a person made a substantial donation to the park and wanted his or her name attached to the park’s name.

“I think we would entertain that,” Gardner said. Gardner also updated the board on the system’s economic development. The system is the 21st largest business by revenue in the state. Only the government and Wal-Mart have more employees in the state, Gardner said.

Gardner pushed the system’s recently established UM Business Development Program, which creates business incubators to spur dialogue among faculty and business leaders.

“Athletics have practice fields,” Gardner said. “We need practice places to take these ideas to the public as well.”

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