MCG freezes hiring for 70 positions

The Medical College of Georgia will freeze hiring on 70 positions as it tries to meet a recommended 10 percent budget cut, an official said Friday. And that might not be the last of the reductions, said William Bowes, the senior vice president for finance and administration.

On the heels of a January revenue report that showed state tax collections down 14 percent from the previous year, University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis notified the institutions that more cuts might be coming. The system is expecting to hear from Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue about that next week, system spokesman John Millsaps said.

"It sounds like (MCG President Daniel W. Rahn) is just trying to be proactive," he said.

MCG elected to go from a 9.5 percent reduction to the 10 percent reduction, and freezing those 70 positions should save between $750,000 and $900,000, Mr. Bowes said.

The frozen positions will be primarily support positions paid for by state funds, which account for about 25 percent of MCG's budget, he said. The school has already eliminated 84 vacant positions to meet budget cut recommendations.

"I'm still trying to hold off on doing layoffs," Mr. Bowes said.

The most recent cuts won't delay an expansion of MCG's School of Medicine to Athens in conjunction with the University of Georgia, he said. A search for faculty for the satellite school will continue, in part because those positions are unlikely to be filled until late this fiscal year or into next fiscal year and would not affect this year's budget.

MCG and UGA signed a memorandum of understanding this week that said the satellite school would be up and running by 2010.

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.