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May 17, 2004

First phase of Service Center consolidation expected by fall

By Louise Donahue

UCSC’s 26 service centers are likely to be pared to about eight by the time classes begin this fall, Vice Chancellor of Business and Administrative Services Tom Vani said at an Executive Budget Committee forum last week.

Job losses due to state budget cuts may not be as extensive as originally expected, said Vice Chancellor of Business and Administrative Services Tom Vani and Bill Hyder, assistant chancellor for operations.

That reduction will be the first step in a continuing effort to move away from UCSC’s current decentralized service center system.

Within a year of the first consolidation, most financial transaction processing will be consolidated further, to a single centralized unit, though some functions will remain at the divisional level.

Vani joined Larry Castro, Financial Administrative Services Transformation (FAST) project manager, and Kirk Lew, assistant vice chancellor for financial affairs, at the May 12 Staff Advisory Board-sponsored forum on the FAST project. FAST is one of the projects addressing business functions as part of UCSC’s budget-driven “transformation” efforts.

Castro and Lew explained that the FAST project approach is to make the changes in phases, to allow adjustments as needed and get input from the divisions. “We want to be able to identify problems as we go along,” said Castro.

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Still to be decided are which functions will be kept on the divisional level and which will be handled in the central office. In general, however, work involving sponsored projects appears likely to remain in the divisions, with more transaction-oriented functions moving to the central office.

Many forum participants were concerned about the impact on jobs, and asked whether the transformation process has a specific savings goal. While there is no set savings target, “we should be able to get a lot of economies of scale by going in this direction,” Vani said.

Vani and Bill Hyder, assistant chancellor for operations, noted that job losses due to state budget cuts may not be as extensive as originally expected. The projected staff impact reflected in unit planning documents (excluding business services and outreach) estimates a potential reduction of approximately 80 staff FTE, Hyder explained, but approximately 50 of those positions are now unfilled, meaning about 30 positions could be affected.

“There are going to be some layoffs, but there are certainly not going to be the large numbers that we’ve been fearing,” Hyder said. “We do not know the numbers for financial transactions, but it appears that attrition may reduce the potential impacts as well.”

The FAST project team is working to come up with a baseline staffing level for each function, and plans to have the completed analysis of survey data now being compiled in June. “We want this to be as data-driven as possible,” said Castro.

While every effort will be made to make cuts through attrition and redeploy people to other parts of campus, “we just don’t have the information to give that guarantee,” said Castro.

Several issues remain unresolved at this stage, including the location of the consolidated centers and the name to be given to the units remaining in the divisions.

Staffers concerned about the possibility of pay cuts if an employee’s job responsibilities change were assured that is not part of the plan.

“I know that people should worry, but they shouldn’t worry about losing salary. There is no intention of changing any salaries,” Vani said.

While much of the transformation focus is on cost savings, the team is also taking a critical look at various financial procedures, to see if every time-consuming process is really needed. “We’re trying to make this work over the long haul,” said Lew.

Additional information on the project is available online at http://www.ucsc.edu/finaff/cc/slugbert/slugSEMay04.htm

Related links:

Team offers preview of online payroll system

Human Resources Transformation team offers update for staff

Program takes new approach to preventing injuries, easing employees' return to work

Staff Human Resources expands 'transition services' to assist budget-related job changes

Newsletter provides information on IT transformation project

Budget impact candidly discussed at Chancellor's Staff Forum

Effort under way to consolidate information technology on campus

Campus team tackles UCSC’s workers’ comp crisis

Currents article: Changes will streamline purchasing on campus

Currents article: Panel fields questions about efforts to streamline HR and payroll

Currents article: Staff forum focuses on HR transformation project; second forum to take place November 17

Currents article: Forum on budget process November 5

Currents article: Chancellor says budget planning will yield strategic cost cutting

Currents article: Campus 'transformation' begins with info technology consolidation

Executive Budget Committee

UCSC Budget Update site

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