Chancellor Announces 280 Positions Will be Eliminated

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UC Berkeley expects to eliminate approximately 280 full-time positions this year in order to save the campus about $20 million annually, campus administrators announced Thursday in a campuswide e-mail.

Half of the positions will be cut involuntarily, resulting in layoffs for nearly 150 staff members, according to the e-mail - sent by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer, Vice Chancellor Frank Yeary and Operational Excellence Program Head and Dean of the Graduate Division Andrew Szeri. The other half will be cut through the removal of vacant positions, retirements and voluntary separations.

Birgeneau originally estimated the number of position eliminations to be around 200 in a letter to faculty and staff sent Sept. 21, which explained that the eliminations will occur as part of the campus Operational Excellence initiative aimed at saving a total of at least $75 million.

Reductions in staff have already begun and will take place chiefly before this June, Thursday's e-mail said.

"We are committed to treating all of our employees with dignity, respect and fairness while recognizing that in the end, we will have fewer administrative positions on campus," the e-mail said. "In addition to crafting a somewhat smaller workforce, our goal is to rationalize policies and procedures such that many staff will find their jobs more rewarding and less frustrating.

The e-mail stressed that position cuts have affected all levels of staff, reporting that about one quarter of the eliminated positions have salaries and benefits of $100,000 and above. The number of managers who supervise fewer than three staff members has also decreased from 45 to 20 percent, with a new campus average of seven direct reports per supervisor.

Managers will notify those subject to layoffs, and those who qualify will have access to severance arrangements including training and counseling services, according to the e-mail.

"We will create a flatter and healthier organizational structure which will have about one third fewer managers and will focus our best managers on developing talent and actively managing the organization," the e-mail said.

Alisha Azevedo covers academics and administratio. Contact her at [email protected]

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