Regents Weigh Changes To Office of President

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University officials presented options to the UC Board of Regents yesterday that would restructure the administration at the UC Office of the President in order to reduce its size and spending.

The proposed effort to restructure the Office of the President by March 2009 would reduce spending at the university by a net amount of $30.4 million and cut the workforce at the office by 404 full-time-equivalent positions, or by 23 percent, according to a presentation at the UC Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco yesterday.

"Over time, the Office of the President has evolved and grown," said UC President Robert Dynes. "To look at where these organizations should exist as opposed to where they have evolved is a way overdue thing to do."

Provost and Executive Vice President Wyatt R. Hume and Executive Vice President Katherine Lapp led efforts over the past several months to analyze the inner workings of the office and identify areas that could be trimmed down.

"All of this is about providing better support for the president so we can be more effective," Hume said. "Many of the functions that we do, as important as they are, do not support the president."

The plans come as the search for a new UC president unfolds. Last year, Dynes announced his intent to resign, saying he plans to step down by June or when a new president is chosen.

Hume said he will present a revised leadership structure for the office to the regents at their next meeting in May. At that meeting, the regents are slated to vote on the final budget for the office and to decide whether to raise student fees for the next school year in order to alleviate part of the $417.4 million shortfall between the university's budget and the state's.

"At the same time (as the restructuring of the Office of the President), this is the time when we need to save money, and I believe we can do both at the same time," Hume said.

Although several of the regents showed support for restructuring of the office, some regents expressed concerns about the undertaking.

The plan proposes a total reduction at the office of $56.7 million for 2008-2009. However, $26.3 million will be relocated to other functions outside of the office, leaving a net savings of $30.4 million.

Regent Judith Hopkinson said some of the costs saved at the office's administrative level may be passed on to the campuses instead.

"So it's not a true savings," she said.

Regent Eddie Island said he was not convinced that the preliminary plans to reduce the budget at the office can be fully achieved if employees and funds are simply reallocated to other functions.

"You're simply moving the marbles around," Island said. "That doesn't make us leaner, that doesn't make us more efficient."

In response to Island, Lapp said the office did not previously have the type of information available for review.

"This is the first step," Lapp said. "This is by no means the end."


Angelica Dongallo covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected]

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