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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Whoop, dere it is (or isn't)

The President of the Medical School of Florida (er University of Florida) presented his plan for cuts to the University. As we have been all along, the department is still a deer in the headlights. The most brilliant comment was that our President claims that the use of stimulus funds is not an option because we might have a budget crisis next year!! Regardless of how people feel about stimulus money, the objective is for those monies to be used to help revive the economy and avoid cuts?? So if the monies are available and can help reduce layoffs for the upcoming year, what is wrong with using them for that purpose? If the economy does not recover, then the program can be discussed again next year. Here's what President Machen had to say:

While this appears to be a good solution, it is only a temporary fix. This practice of using non-recurring funds to pay for recurring costs puts us in a very dangerous situation in the future. Two years from now, our base state funding will be millions of dollars less than it is today, and there will be no stimulus dollars to make up the difference.

In fact, we have no idea if this statement is true. It is either an expectation by Machen or an excuse to trim money from some programs and prevent damage to his favorites. Consider that in the present budget, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences loses three degree granting programs along with a number of other cuts while Engineering suffers no real losses (they simply won't fill vacant positions). The College of Medicine loses 1 staff member and leaves some vacancies unfilled (note that the college is still hiring!).

So there it is and Machen tries to make the point that this is a worst case scenario. In my humble opinion, the University of Florida has a myopic view of the future and the budget proposal laid before the Faculty Senate is poorly conceived on many, many levels.

Fortunately, the Dean of our college has promised that if other Colleges do not follow the 'vertical cut' mandate, he will ask to revisit our plan. We'll see if that happens.

A last point, several people have asked to speak to Machen about the cuts to our department. His secretary said that he is not taking calls at this time.



At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you post this issue to the UF blog page?

It is also a question many staff are asking. After all, laying off people is going in the opposite direction as what the stimulus is about.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger RBH said...

Ugh. Sorry to hear that, Joe.

At 5:31 PM, Blogger Joe Meert said...

There will be more. I'm not sure the UF blog is effective.


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