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Azziz announces job cuts at GHSU

Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 7:26 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 12:40 AM
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Continued reductions in state funding will mean the loss of some jobs at Georgia Health Sciences University, school President Ri­cardo Azziz announced Tuesday.

Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz

Azziz made the announcement in an institutionwide e-mail addressing budgetary issues for GHSU and its health system.

The university has trimmed its budget twice this year to accommodate a mandated 3 percent cut in state funding and a further 2 percent reduction to create an investment fund for future growth.

GHSU spokeswoman Christen Carter said six people would lose their jobs. She could not disclose which positions would be eliminated because not all of the people have been notified.

An additional three positions would be eliminated through retirements and at least 20 more vacant positions would not be filled, Carter said. More details will be provided at a later date, she said.

Azziz’s announcement said the cutting isn’t expected to end there, indicating an additional 2 percent reduction in state funding is likely.

“Departments and units have already begun putting their budget reduction plans into action,” the statement said.

The largest part of budget reductions have come through eliminating vacant positions and cutting travel and supply budgets, with an effort to spare teaching and research functions as much as possible, the statement said.

“However and unfortunately, after more than five years of consecutive reductions in state funding, the fact is that we are out of ‘painless’ options, and we were faced with the need to eliminate a small number of current positions in order to meet the targeted budget reductions,” the statement said.

Not all the reductions are being mandated by the state. Part of the savings created through budget cuts will be used to fund the university’s future, Azziz said. That money will be used to “seed a sequestered, future-oriented growth fund.”

The Strategic Acade­mic, Research and Services De­vel­op­ment Fund will be used to support growth and development of new programs and services at Georgia Regents Uni­versity, to be formed in January by consolidating GHSU and Augusta State University.

“We must all accept that state funding is likely to continue its trend of contraction, and we must plan accordingly,” the statement said. “Individually and collectively, we must continue to work effectively, efficiently and remain vigilant in our efforts to keep costs down.”

Azziz’s announcement continues the message of belt-tightening and cost savings the administration has been talking about for months.

In a statement in October, Azziz said losses in state funding since 2008 amount to about $226 million for the institution and that future spending for projects such as the National Cancer Center, upgrading the aging information technology infrastructure and the consolidation with Augusta State University will amount to about $300 million in additional spending in coming years.

In the Oct. 31 statement, Azziz cautioned against waiting for economic conditions to improve and for state funding to return to previous levels.

“(We) are in an economic ‘new nor­mal.’ Waiting for things to ‘get better’ is folly. The time for planning and action is now,” he said.

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Cynical old woman
Cynical old woman 12/04/12 - 08:36 pm
The A

Why doesn't he take a salary reduction? Why doesn't he curtail his travel expenses? Why doesn't he leave???

gargoyle 12/04/12 - 09:14 pm
Wonder if AZZZZZZise has been

Wonder if AZZIZ has been frugal with his department budget and expenses . Should be public knowledge.

SON of Scoob
SON of Scoob 12/04/12 - 09:59 pm

A lot of money was spent with the name change, stationary, forms, signs, etc. Now people are being laid off because of budget issues. What a load of crap. Azzzzz needs to go.

whyme 12/04/12 - 11:33 pm
Here's a concept:

Let's eliminate the main source of high expenses: Azziz. He's wasted money twice now on name changes, he's alienated outstanding staff members, and the level of care in most areas has gone downhill because of morale.

allhans 12/04/12 - 11:41 pm
It is not only GHSU..

It is not only GHSU.. Layoffs are all over the place.

jmo 12/05/12 - 12:46 am
If you had a .........

If you had a "Save the A" sign in your yard, you're gone.

The Bean
The Bean 12/05/12 - 01:13 am

I wonder how many of those jobs might be spared were we not wasting money on new signage for a ridiculous name and a survey which was ultimately ignored. Way to be fiscally responsible, Doc.

Riverman1 12/05/12 - 05:17 am
In All Seriousness

For every job lost in Augusta, three will be created in Athens.

augustarookie 12/05/12 - 06:45 am

Why doesn't he take a reduction first.

seenitB4 12/05/12 - 07:16 am
Sad news

But no surprise...too much waste from the top.....people lose interest & low morale will always hurt production....

Tullie 12/05/12 - 08:31 am
Cynical old woman said:

Why doesn't he take a salary reduction? Why doesn't he curtail his travel expenses? Why doesn't he leave???

Azziz was brought here by Gov Deal to merge ASU and GHSU and make them profitable.

From what I have seen, Deal is like Azziz, neither can admit they made a mistake. Deal will not admit Azziz is a mistake, so he still backs him and that means we are stuck with him.

I think Azziz is probably a brilliant doctor in his field, just not a people person. He was sent here to do a job that also requires a lot of social skills. He seems to have a hard time talking to people he considers beneath him. Most people can hide their contempt better then he has done so far.

In my work experience when there were reductions in force, they always cut from the bottom. I have always seen them cut people while the bosses would even get bonuses. It is very unusual for the top tier to cut travel, their salary, expenses etc.

OpenCurtain 12/05/12 - 09:49 am

I am now wondering, how many just jumped off the support the GRU-A bandwagon (Train Wreck), now that it is on a personal level?

soapy_725 12/05/12 - 10:04 am
And the ground breaking and concrete

continue to flow. Capital investments in a time of preaching frugality.

twentieth century man
twentieth century man 12/05/12 - 10:55 am

Isn't it odd that layoffs are being announced at the same time the Athens medical branch is being seeded and a brand new worldwide comprehensive university is being promised?

Cynical old woman
Cynical old woman 12/05/12 - 11:06 am
Yes, Tullie

Cuts are normally made from the bottom. It still amazes me the amount of money that's OBVIOUSLY been wasted (survey, signage, etc) and yet "he" remains. I just wonder how much more he's squandered that's not public knowledge.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 12/05/12 - 12:38 pm

Somebody posted here a few months ago that Azziz had a $20,000 stereo and home theater installed in the president's mansion at state taxpayer expense. I wouldn't know first hand.

galaxygrl 12/05/12 - 12:50 pm

We could save $300 million by not consolidating the schools. And Tullie, we can vote Deal out when election time comes, but the only thing we've gotten the community close to solidairty on was ASU. I say we begin a campaign now for voters from our area to vote against Deal. He was being investigated by Congress when he was elected here. Tigers don't change their stripes and I am sure he didn't either. I wonder who are the interests that are profitting by him being Governor?

Sweet son
Sweet son 12/05/12 - 01:05 pm
Need to make sure that

no State funds are spent building "His Majesty's" palace at ASU. PPG has plenty of money they need to fund the palace and "A's" entire salary so the State's share can be put in the current reduction pot! records indicate that the "A's" 2010-2011 salary was nearly $700,000 plus another $16,000 for travel. We all know that PPG kicks in more and don't forget the free house on Milledge Rd.

And as others have said the cuts will be made on the backs of those who really work!

Butterbean 12/05/12 - 01:34 pm
There is a difference

There is a difference in Foundation Funds and State Funds. Foundation Funds probably are used on many of his expenditures on the President's House on Milledge Rd. I do not know which funds are used for what - but it is probably an open records type of information.

bentman 12/05/12 - 07:12 pm
check it out

Below was an email the Godfather sent to his underlings:


Over the past eleven months our consolidation work teams have completed a staggering amount of work, planning and preparing for the anticipated approval of our consolidation on January 8. But, as we enter the final month of this monumental pre-consolidation effort, it is clear that many important decisions deserve more consideration, discussion and planning than we can give them in this amount of time.

For some decisions, this is not of great concern, and details can be resolved in the months ahead. By contrast, it is critical from the outset that faculty, students and staff understand what policies will govern their actions.

The process of developing Georgia Regents University (GRU) policies is well underway, and many have been finalized, but the effort will not be complete by January 8. Therefore, as we move forward with a consolidated university, we should keep the following guidelines in mind:

If there is an approved GRU policy, then it should be followed and it supersedes all previous policies; If there are two, follow both of them where they are consistent. If they are inconsistent, then the EVP-Provost should be consulted, and she is empowered to decide which policy should be followed. No one should be disciplined or judged non-compliant for following any policy from our predecessor institutions that is not yet replaced with a GRU policy.

Upon completion of the consolidation in January, I intend to issue an executive order formalizing what I have outlined in this memorandum.

Thank you for your continued dedication.

Ricardo Azziz, MD, MPH, MBA
Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Medicine
President, Georgia Health Sciences University
CEO, Georgia Health Sciences Health System

"Upon completion of the consolidation in January, I intend to issue an executive order formalizing what I have outlined in this memorandum."

The above excerpt really tells the story, which is if he sees something he doesn't like, he will fix it by fiat and you better not get in his way.

Cynical old woman
Cynical old woman 12/05/12 - 08:22 pm

Thanks for sharing that. He lists a lot of titles....but not the title I'd give him!

DAVEM1949 12/05/12 - 10:27 pm
GHSU Layoffs and Cuts

I think people want to kill the messenger - in this case, Dr. Azziz is the messenger - the State of Georgia in the form of the Governor and the Legislature are the ones who have campaigned on low - or no - taxes. This is what you get, folks, when you don't want taxes, and don't understand what this means to higher education, a more educated populace, and how these attract higher tech industries and jobs. So cut taxes, cut fees - and cut jobs at a State-owned institution. As to the asinine suggestion of cutting the salary of a man who is directly responsible for the operations of a major teaching and research university, as well as CEO of a 450-bed hospital, I would suggest that those who suggest it haven't a clue as to what it takes in years of education, ability, or personal sacrifice to do the job. His salary as a part of educational cuts is probably somewhere south of .00001% of the funds being cut by YOUR state government. Compare funding and salaries at other regional academic medical centers: Emory, Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, UAB - and then look at what GHSU gets. You'll then have something to complain about if you care about education and healthcare in this state.

Augusta and Georgia need more money for healthcare and education - and medical research. The state ranks near the bottom in all. In the 20 top services provided by hospitals, NC, SC, and VA rank in the 90th percentile in more than 12 of them - GA ranks in the 90th percentile in none of them.

So. If you want to get more money and become a true medical and educational center, don't complain about someone like Dr. Azziz who is trying to change things for the better. Blame the state - or look in the mirror if you complain about your taxes - OR get behind GHSU and write your state legislators about more appropriate funding or specialty taxes. It's our children's future - not about the head of a university who has had his hands financially tied by the government you elected.

Ben There
Ben There 12/06/12 - 09:58 am
Savings from Consolidation

With all the money they are saving from consolidating ASU and GHSU why do they need to cut jobs? Is it because there are NO savings from consolidation? Surely, Azziz, the Board of Regents, and the Governor wouldn't be less than truthful with us!

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