As you know, the University is experiencing severe fiscal challenges across all locations because of COVID-19 and its economic fallout. UC ANR is facing a possible 12.7% budget reduction for the 20-21 fiscal year. The University is hoping for a supplemental federal appropriation from Congress which may help to reduce the budget cut.
“Congress wanted to pass the fourth COVID supplemental package before August, but they weren't able to come to an agreement,” said Anne Megaro, director of governmental and community relations. “Many of them are still in D.C. working and it could take several more weeks of negotiation before the bill is finalized.”
Until we know more about our fiscal position for the coming year, we are implementing measures to ensure that we are able to continue to deliver the UC ANR mission. As these fiscal challenges become more apparent, many of you have expressed concerns about continued job security and what's next.
UC ANR's strength lies squarely with its people. We have a strong commitment to our employees and seek to implement this by being proactive, transparent and innovative wherever possible. In addition to this ongoing commitment, we will prioritize protecting programmatic goals and current positions. Layoffs will be considered only as a tool of last resort to address the fiscal challenges.
We will approach this situation as we have faced many other challenges - thoughtfully, strategically and with our employees and mission in mind. To do this effectively and equitably across UC ANR, we are implementing a series of strategies.
To achieve the above we initiated a hiring freeze effective July 1 and deferred funding requests for new staff positions and expenditures. Staffing requests will only be approved by exception based on compelling priorities. This hiring freeze will remain in effect for 12 months, unless the budgetary condition improves. Additionally, we are:
- Ensuring a high level of flexibility to reassign current staff to critical positions using the current Redeployment program, wherever possible.
- Approving reasonable use of the voluntary Employee Initiated Reduction in Time (ERIT).
- Proactively considering other UC systemwide strategies for actions to reduce costs such as voluntary reduction in time and voluntary early retirement.
- Working to grow and diversify the Division's revenue streams, prioritizing the development of contracts and grants, gifts, and other independent revenue sources.
- Maintaining programmatic delivery and continuing to invest in key areas, including those identified in the strategic plan, to strengthen delivery of extension and operational efficiency to further our mission.
Our hope is that the hiring freeze and other cost-cutting measures will be short-lived and that Congress will provide the necessary funds to minimize cuts to the University. UC has initiated an advocacy campaign to encourage Congress to support state funding as well as supplemental research and cooperative extension funding.