Vacant employee positions not filled

As USF continues planning for layoffs to be announced in June, some university departments are deciding not to hire people for jobs on a list of vacant positions. Instead, once layoffs are made, employees who have lost their jobs will be put into those vacant positions that are no longer being advertised.Auxiliary Services is planning to remove at least 13 vacant positions from its department before the end of the fiscal year on July 1.

The decision this month to get rid of the positions was made so Human Resources would know what positions would be available for employees who may be laid off. Then, the employees can be placed in the remaining positions suitable for their job qualifications.

Positions that remain vacant and are not abolished will not be advertised to the public. They are being saved for laid off employees.

Sandra Conway, acting director for Human Resources, said the department began listing vacant-position reports in USF departments last week to ensure University Support Personnel System employees will receive their layoff rights.

USPS employees, such as secretaries and clerks, have layoff rights that include placement into vacant positions.Conway said, when searching for vacant positions, Human Resources needs to be sure that positions are not occupied.

“We want to make sure we have a real position to put someone in that we may have to use for a layoff position,” Conway said. “We run reports and mark position numbers to know what’s abolished, and we can’t look at that position for replacement. That tells me just ignore that position.”

Jeff Mack, director for Auxiliary Services, said his department began to abolish some positions so the university would know what positions would be available to laid off employees.

However, Mack said, it is not uncommon to have vacant positions abolished in Auxiliary Services because it is a self-supported department and does not receive any money from the state.

“It’s a periodic event that happens,” Mack said. “We find ways to expand revenue.”

Mack said the department is always looking at ways to reduce expenditures in its budget, which is separate from the university’s budget. For example, the department can combine duties in a position to help expand its revenue to save money spent on payroll.

Mack said the budget for Auxiliary Services is determined by sales within its departments, which include the USF Bookstore, Parking and Transportation Services, and food services.

Therefore, budget cuts can indirectly affect revenue if classes are cut because sales would be decreased in the Bookstore.

Mack said the department can also save money in sales by waiting to make computer upgrades or purchase equipment.

“We try to be creative and look at other ways,” Mack said.

Grace McQueen, director for the Bookstore, said she decided to abolish five vacant clerk positions because the university asked departments to look at open positions that they would not be using. McQueen said she did not want to make things confusing for Human Resources and abolished the positions because they had been vacant for two years.

While the Bookstore is a self-supported function, McQueen said budget cuts could affect its sales in the supply department.

“There is no negative impact on the Bookstore yet,” McQueen said. “It may take the entire fiscal year to know whether budget cuts have impacted sales. My guess is that it will.”

McQueen said other factors such as the amount of classes being offered in a particular subject reflect on sales, so it is hard to say an impact would be due to budget cuts.

“For example, if there weren’t as many classes for chemistry where students have to buy eye goggles,” McQueen said. “And if Information Technologies doesn’t have the money to buy software, we’re not going to get that business.”

McQueen said the Bookstore doesn’t plan on having any layoffs and will wait to see how the results of its expenditures affect future spending.

“We are just holding our breath for now to see what happens in the summer classes,” she said.