Campus News

State budget crisis leads to layoff of 47 university employees

The university on April 8 notified 47 employees they are laid off effective June 30 due to ongoing state budget reductions and the refocusing of some departmental missions resulting from those cuts.

As the state budget crisis has deepened, the university has managed to bring total employment downward by some 650 positions through tightened hiring procedures and attrition but without layoffs until now.

“I regret deeply that these layoffs have become necessary,” says President Michael F. Adams. “The university values greatly every employee and has done everything within its power to avoid this eventuality. Unfortunately, the fiscal year 2005 budget cuts, particularly in the B-budget units, are of such magnitude that we have no choice but to take this action.”

“We have struggled successfully to this point to maintain our operations without layoffs,” says Arnett C. Mace Jr., senior vice president for academic affairs. “But the additional budget cut beginning July 1 makes layoffs in these particular units unavoidable.”

Included are 18 positions in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and 29 in units of the division of Public Service and Outreach.

In the agriculture college, seven of the lost positions are in Tifton, five in Athens, and one each in Gordon County, Griffin, States-boro, Blairsville, Dahlonega and Augusta.

“These reductions are a case of the budget being reduced to a point at which positions simply could not be maintained,” says Dean Gale Buchanan. “We regret it mightily for the individuals involved and also regret that we will be unable to provide Georgians the level of services they have come to expect from these units.”

In managing for budget efficiencies, Vice President for Public Service and Outreach Arthur N. Dunning ordered a mission review in public service units.

“Our layoffs are a result of refocusing on our core missions in the Georgia Center, the Vinson Institute and our other affected public service units,” he says.

Public Service and Outreach layoffs include 18 positions in the Georgia Center for Continuing Education, seven in the Carl Vinson Institute of Government, two in Marine Extension, and one each in International Public Service and Outreach and the Museum of ­Natural History.

The positions lost in the Georgia Center result from the elimination of some programs and the reorganization of others, including eight positions with the discontinuation of the American Language Program; two each from Georgia Center residential support services and the Center’s media production unit; one each from radio station WUGA, the Center director’s office, the conference and institutes department, and the maintenance department; and two Georgia Center positions at the Gwinnett Center.

Laid-off employees will be employed through June 30, or through the end date of their contract for contract employees, and will be paid for all accumulated annual leave in a lump sum under established payroll procedures for terminating employees, according to Andy Brantley, associate vice president for human resources. His office has scheduled group counseling to assist affected employees with unemployment, benefits, retirement, re-employment and training issues.

“Layoffs are regrettable and we recognize they are a significant life event for the employees affected,” Brantley says. He says those in the official layoff pool will be assisted in application for unemployment compensation and, if they desire, will be placed in a “recall pool” which will receive priority hiring consideration for vacancies through October 2004 for which they may be qualified.

A number of university services will continue to be available to laid-off personnel through October. These include personal counseling for potential emotional, financial and legal issues through UGA’s Employee Assistance Program. Laid-off employees may take ­advantage of all services available to alumni through UGA’s Career Center, including career counseling, and may attend training programs available through the Training and Development Department. They may retain their UGA e-mail accounts and UGACards to use e-mail in their job search and continue to access campus events and services. Existing parking permits may be retained at no additional cost through October, and existing Ramsey Student Center memberships may be continued through October if prepaid.