UGA vacancies go unfilled

ATHENS, Ga. -- University of Georgia administrators may resume some hiring next year, but they may continue to let vacant slots go unfilled if state tax revenues continue to drop, UGA President Michael Adams said Thursday.


Adams would not rule out layoffs or furloughing employees to save money next year. If the economy worsens, the university will implement furloughs before layoffs, he said.

"My preference remains to protect as many jobs as humanly possible," he said at a meeting of the UGA University Council on Thursday. Administrators cut the UGA work force by about 450 during the past year, he said - not with layoffs, but by attrition, not replacing workers as they left or retired.

And administrators will continue to fill most open faculty jobs with temporary workers on three-year contracts rather than traditional tenure-track faculty, he said.

The state government cut UGA's budget by about $60 million this year in the fiscal year that will end June 30, Adams said - about $48 million in UGA's main instructional budget, and another $12 million in subsidiary operations such as the Cooperative Extension Service.

Next year's state budget provides slightly less for UGA.

But a tuition hike, a special students fee and federal stimulus money will help UGA avoid furloughs or layoffs, he said

"We should be able to operate at the current level or even slightly better," he told the council. "However, if there are additional cuts, all bets are off."

"There are rumors of a special session (of the legislature)," Adams said at Thursday's council meeting. "There are rumors of more cuts. There are rumors of furloughs and layoffs."

The legislature cut the University System of Georgia's state appropriation by about 11 percent, even after the state got $92 million in federal stimulus money to help pay for the costs of operating the 35 state colleges and universities.

A tuition hike approved earlier this month by the state Board of Regents will add $14 million to UGA coffers, and a $100-per-semester student fee will contribute $7 million, he said.

Administrators could raise an additional $1.5 million or so by imposing a 1 percent surcharge on UGA auxiliary services such as food services, the UGA golf course and parking - or raise $3 million with a 2 percent surcharge.

But budget planners have not yet decided whether to enact any surcharge, Tim Burgess, Vice President for Finance, said after the University Council meeting.

The UGA Athletic Association also will give $2 million to the UGA academic budget this year.

Originally published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Friday, April 24, 2009



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