May 24, 2004
Acting Chancellor Chemers shares good news with
By Jennifer McNulty
Acting Chancellor Martin M. Chemers was greeted by enthusiastic applause during his spring brown-bag forum with staff when he announced that each campus employee will receive a $200 bonus (details).
Acting Chancellor Chemers updated staffers about the UCSC budget
and took questions at the May 24 staff forum. Photo:
STAFF ADVISORY BOARD
Outgoing Staff Advisory Board chair Rachel Huff announced the
election of new board members Ciel Benedetto, senior analyst in
Equal Employment Office/Affirmative Action, and Scott Loosley,
senior grounds supervisor in Physical Plant.
Applause erupted at least three more times during the 45-minute gathering,
including when Chemers announced that parking rates will remain the
same next year and that the UC Regents approved a onetime bonus leave
program for staff. The action means employees may take two days off
over winter break this year without using vacation time.
Terms of the bonus and leave program must be negotiated for represented
employees, said Chemers, noting that it was our intention to give
(the bonus) to everyone.
Responding to a question, Chemers again drew applause when he said
he is leaning toward vying for the top job on campus.
Im automatically a candidate, because Im the sitting
chancellor, Chemers told the crowd that packed Oakes 105. I
feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to this campus, and Ill
make my final decision whether to seek the position when they draw up
the short list. To be honest, Im leaning toward it.
The selection committee hopes to name the next chancellor by the end
of August or early September, said Chemers. More information about the
search process is available online at www.ucsc.edu/administration/chancellor_search.
Chemers struck the upbeat tone early as he updated employees on the
agreement between the University of California and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
that protects UC from further budget cuts this year and promises new
funding beginning in 2005. The universitys 2004-05 budget will
be flat, he said.
Its not a great deal, but its good for us, I think,
said Chemers, noting that the agreement gives UC some predictability
and stops the bleeding thats been going on.
Perhaps even more heartening was the outpouring of support for the
university that flooded Sacramento, said Chemers.
Just when the budget and the cuts to higher education were coming
out, the citizens of California and the leadership of California just
said, Wait--this system of higher education is an essential feature
in the success of this state, said Chemers, noting that
he knew in 1968 when he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois
that he wanted to come to UC. I knew this was then--and is now--the
best university in the world.
At UCSC, the number of people losing jobs due to the budget crisis
will be well under 100, probably closer to 50, said Chemers.
Many more vacant positions are being lost, however, and Chemers acknowledged
the impact those cuts will have on employees. Everyone is working
a lot harder, he said. We recognize that, and we appreciate
Campus efforts to reorganize, become more efficient, and improve service
are moving ahead. About 70 percent of the projects have wrapped up their
work with outside consultants, noted Chemers, and the focus now is on
the big ones: financial transactions and information technology
groups. Both projects are at the point of drawing up organization charts
and will begin hiring senior managers shortly, said Chemers, adding
that all management positions will be staffed internally. The
talent we need is talent we already have, he said.
Changes will be phased in gradually over two to three years, noted
Human beings have a limited capacity for uncertainty and change,
he said. Were going to try to keep the flux at a level thats
manageable so it doesnt drive us all crazy.
Commenting on a union demonstration and petition delivered to his office
last week, Chemers voiced strong support for the workplace principles
of advancement, fairness, and quality, which he described as central
values of our organization.
If you feel you are the victim of favoritism, I wish youd
do something about it, he said. I do not condone favoritism.
Fielding questions from the audience, Chemers noted that senior managers
will not receive the bonus, and the bonus will be pro-rated for part-time
Asked how the governor can guarantee UC funding levels beyond his term
of office, Chemers acknowledged the curious nature of politics and economics.
All of these plans are predicated on economic projections that
may or may not hold true. The important thing for us is that there will
be no more cuts right now, said Chemers, noting that UC leaders
had been braced for additional cuts this month. This will let
us catch our breath for a couple of years.
UCSCs enrollment in coming years is uncertain, but Chemers predicted
it will return to levels of modest growth of 200-300 students
Following years of rapid growth under the leadership of former Chancellor
M.R.C. Greenwood, who helped build the campuss public reputation
and oversaw the introduction of many new programs and buildings on campus,
Chemers said he thinks UCSC needs to consolidate its gains in the current
economic climate and prepare to move forward as the economy improves.
In other news from campus officials:
Work on the Physical Sciences Building, stalled by the bankruptcy
of the mechanical contractor, is ramping back up, and campus officials
hope the building will be ready for occupancy in January.
The campus is drafting guidelines in accordance with the UC
green building initiative, designed to mandate energy efficiency
and the use of sustainable building materials.
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