University prepares for layoffs
Due to budget cuts, some USF employees may not have jobs to return to after the spring.
This week, USF Human Resources began mailing out layoff notices to employees whose jobs could be eliminated in June.
Sandra Conway, assistant director for Human Resources, said about 20 letters were mailed to USF employees, including the branch campuses. The letters distributed were a notification to the employee that the position they hold could be abolished due to budget cuts, but no final decisions will be made until June 20.
“Everyone is aware there was going to be layoffs,” Conway said. “It’s not something that will catch them by surprise.”
Conway said the budget cuts that occurred after the Legislative special session caused departments on campus to find a way to come up with money. Conway said because of this some areas may have chosen to eliminate positions or put a freeze on positions.
Conway also said the departments had to look at their figures to see what choices would be the best for the department without decreasing its services.
The employees who are expected to be affected are those who have University Support Personnel Services positions, such as secretaries or officers. Those in Administrative and Professional positions, including directors or coordinators, could be affected as well, she said.
Conway said each department had to turn in its budget reduction plans by Dec. 31, 2001, listing the number of filled, vacant and held positions. However, Conway said some departments did not turn plans in until the first week of January, and some plans needed corrections.
“Some said position numbers needed to be reduced, when we found them full,” Conway said. “We called the departments to verify what to correct.”
Conway said although a list has not been printed yet for which departments will suffer the most, there will not be layoffs in every area. Some departments may have decided to not fill vacant positions.
Jim Gray, acting director for the Library, said the Library will not be laying off any employees, even though the layoffs are universitywide.
Conway said the percentage of employees who will be laid off is predicted to be low compared to the 6,000 employees in USPS and A&P. And in the past budget cuts, a program was required to cut an entire area.
“It’s a major thing to universities because they don’t expect layoffs,” Conway said. “It’s not like a plant with shut downs. We always need education.”
Conway said the next step for Human Resources is to assist those who do receive notification letters and prepare them if their position is released. Human Resources will be meeting with those employees to help them through the processes of finding new positions that fit their skills, and teach them how to keep health insurance and apply for unemployment if necessary.
“It’s an information session to prepare them, just in case,” Conway said.
USPS senate will be relaying information to employees who may be laid off by allowing them to attend meetings.
Renee Seay, vice president for USPS senate, said the senate is working with a timeline to assist employees in making sure they get the correct information. A list of the positions that will be affected will be made available to the public on the university’s Web site.
Seay said she is not sure when the list will be posted, but giving employees an idea of who would be affected is one way to get the word out. Seay said the USPS senate has closely followed the budget to be able to inform employees about layoffs.
“We didn’t want employees to find out at the last minute,” Seay said.
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