Chancellor institutes hiring restrictions

14 November 2001 | Facing a gloomy state economic forecast for the next two years, Chancellor Robert Berdahl has instituted restrictions on new hiring and planning for reductions in campus expenditures, in accordance with two executive orders recently issued by Gov. Gray Davis.

“As you know the state of California’s fiscal outlook continues to deteriorate,” Berdahl said in a Nov. 9 memo to campus deans, directors and administrative officers. “As a consequence, the UC system will be asked to implement budget reductions in the current academic year and plan for further reductions next year.”

The salary budget for unfilled positions could be one important sourceof savings, Berdahl said, explaining his decision to restrict new hiring, effective Nov. 9. Carefully control hiring of new employees at this time, he said, will be a critical step in meeting the mandate to reduce campus operating budgets.

Gov. Davis’ directives asked that UC and the California State University system reduce operating budgets “to a level that will not interfere with meeting their educational mission.”

Under the restrictions, new employees will not be hired unless they fall under the following exempt categories:

• Positions that are funded entirely from non-state sources, with due attention paid to issues of equity for state employees carrying out similar responsibilities.

• Teaching positions, including faculty, lecturers, or relevant student job titles.

• Positions needed to meet the university’s contractual obligations under the terms of an extramural research grant not funded by the state of California.

• Casual-restricted positions (Berkeley students).
Open positions that are not in one of the exempt categories may be filled only if a written, formal offer was extended prior to Nov. 9, or if the appropriate vice chancellor or designee approves an exception.

A department may also request an exception for one of the following reasons:

• The position is needed to maintain academic quality.

• The position is essential to carrying out the University’s mission.

• The position is critical to support health and safety on campus.

“In light of the fact that the campus will have to implement budget reductions in this year and next year, and vice chancellors will be responsible to meet a part of these reductions, they will review very carefully any requests for exceptions to the hiring restrictions,” Berdahl said. “Holding open vacant positions is one means of giving vice chancellors flexibility in addressing the coming budget reductions.”

The second directive from Gov. Davis directs agencies to consider various actions to reduce expenditures, such as reducing equipment purchases and travel.

Berdahl said he anticipated that all phases of campus operation would be affected as the UC system and campuses prepare to accommodate budget reductions. That includes Berkeley’s plans for enrollment growth and related increases in employment levels for both faculty and staff.

“The university is fortunate that the Board of Regents has expressed its strong support for maintaining, and not increasing, the student-faculty ratio,” he added.

Planning for the budget reductions will be carried out by a new executive budget committee, chaired by the chancellor. The committee will include Professors David Dowall and Cathy Koshland, the chair and vice chair of the Academic Senate; Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Gray; Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance Jim Hyatt; and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources David Moers. The committee will develop strategies for meeting the budget reduction targets. The campus administration will consult broadly on the proposed plans before implementing budget reductions.

“All categories of expenditures will also be carefully reviewed,” Berdahl said. “As we work through this period in consultation with the Academic Senate and staff and student leadership, we are determined to protect academic quality and the ability of the campus to carry out its basic mission.

Gov. Davis’ executive orders are available at, as is UC President Richard Atkinson’s letter directing campus chancellors to take actions that would achieve savings while protecting UC’s educational mission and the quality of its academic program.

The governor’s directives remain in effect until June 30, 2003; the campus hiring freeze remains in effect until it is rescinded by the chancellor.

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