The ongoing novel coronavirus has affected colleges throughout the world. To adapt to the loss of money, ESU is implementing temporary measures to use $1.8 million in savings from FY 2021 to carry over to FY 2022.
In an email sent out by President Allison Garrett, she explained that $1 million will be
saved by not filling any current open positions across campus until after June 13.
“As I shared in the Town Hall on Feb. 12, we have instituted a hiring freeze until further notice,” said Garrett. “This means we will generally not be hiring new employees, and open searches are on hold. Exceptions for essential positions will require the approval of the president or vice president. Chairs, Deans and Directors with open positions may contact their vice president for further discussion. We will complete our search for the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.”
Diana Kuhlamnn, Vice President for Administration and Finance CFO, stated that she does not have all the specifics yet, but every department is subjected to the hiring freeze.
Any vacant position must be approved by a vice president before filling in that position. For departments across campus that are already understaffed, it will be up to them on what to do with vacant positions, according to Kuhlamnn.
“And how to move forward and that decision would be made by the chair in tandem with the dean and even the provost,”Kuhlamnn said.
As the current Provost David Cordle plans his retirement, the search for a new Provost continues. Students are encouraged to attend the public forum for the final four candidates interviews, beginning on March 15.
Another way ESU plans to save money is by not releasing equipment funds in FY 21, which will save approximately $600,000.
“There is a central equipment pool for instructional and technological equipment for academic programs and those funds are available annually for departments through their chairs and dean’s to submit their priority list for funding needs,” Kuhlmann said. “Then, that is reviewed by the provost counseling chair and this year with the budget deficit that we are facing there will not be such a process - those funds will be held to help create some savings into next year. So, next year, possibly, that annual evaluation will move forward, but that decision will be made until next fall.”
Lastly, with the travel restrictions that have been set in place due to COVID-19, Garrett said that they will also have savings in travel expenses. Departmental other operating expenditures will be reduced by $280,500.
Kuhlamnn explained that OOE means everything except salaries and fringe benefits, so everything beyond personnel costs fall into the OE.
“Office supplies and printing and equipmentleases, utility, professional development, travel - anything else basically that the department’s need to operatefalls under the category OE,” Kuhlamnn said. “Overall, you know, we have had to go through these kinds of adustments before and the university always pulls together. I think it feels more difficult this time just being on the heels of cutting $2 million out of the budget year that we are currently in and then having to turn around and do it again, but I know we will come through the other side of this actively.”
Kuhlmann will be providing more information about the budget at 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 11 at town hall. If you are an employee and feel like you could use additional support, reach out to the Employee Assistance Program.