Budget cuts could cost 80 to 125 jobs at UW

May 23, 2012 By Bob Moen, The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- The University of Wyoming would lose 80 to 125 faculty and staff positions under proposed budget cuts submitted to Gov. Matt Mead on Tuesday, but UW officials say they believe that most of the potential job losses could be handled through attrition.

"Making the decision not to refill or reallocate a position is difficult, but the alternative  layoffs  is far worse in my judgment," UW President Tom Buchanan said in a letter to all faculty and staff on Tuesday.

UW has about 3,075 faculty and staff positions.

Falling energy revenues prompted Mead to order state agencies to prepare for 8 percent budget cuts in the fiscal year that starts July 2013. An 8 percent cut in state funding would cost Wyoming's only four-year public university about $15.7 million a year.

Employee salaries make up about 74 percent of UW's $196 million general fund budget.

UW's proposal would reduce its workforce by about 3.5 percent, saving about $6.5 million a year.

Don Richards, UW vice president for governmental and community affairs, said UW has been carefully reviewing each job that comes open because of retirement or resignation since 2009.

But while vacant faculty positions have been reviewed by a comprehensive administrative process, review of vacant staff positions has been less rigorous, Richards said.

Applying the process used to review vacant faculty positions to vacant staff positions should help find more staff positions that can be eliminated, he said.

"I guess it's an enhanced review of vacancies more than a new process," Richards said.

Buchanan said that by starting this "new staff position management process immediately we hope to reduce the probability that reductions in force will be needed to accommodate whatever budget reductions UW must manage."

There will not be a hiring freeze as some jobs considered key to the university's core mission must be filled, he said.

UW's plan also identifies about $6.1 million in budget reductions in non-personnel support budgets, about $2.3 million in UW-funded scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students and about $800,000 from the School of Energy Resources.

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