Facilities management recently took the forefront in cost cutting as part of a university-wide elimination of previously vacant positions in order to tighten the institution’s budget.
The Temple News reported in August that Temple cut 95 vacant positions across the university and an additional 85 faculty members retired, leading to $15 million in salary savings. Facilities management took the biggest chunk of the eliminated positions, with 67 slots being cut, saving $3.2 million.
These were positions that were not fully utilized within the university and there were no positions that were currently being held that were eliminated.
“No one was laid off,” James Creedon, senior vice president for construction, facilities and management, said. “The goal was to reach our budget’s goals without laying anyone off.”
As part of its plan to keep the university’s base tuition level, the university had examined reducing costs throughout the budget, but a big chunk of that simply came from cutting positions that were already vacant. The savings allowed Temple to operate more effectively.
“I think we are doing a good job at maintaining our facilities,” Creedon said. “We’re going to have to do some things more differently.”
Some services that exist at the university may be cut in half. For example, a building might now be vacuumed once or twice a week instead of every day. Creedon also wanted to stress that campus security received no cuts and that all of their positions are filled and remain at their current levels.
“We’ve invested more into campus security,” Creedon said. “Cutting positions is something we wouldn’t even consider.”
Ken Kaiser, senior vice president of the office of management and budget, said that because facilities management is the single largest non-academic unit on Main Campus, it housed the largest number of cuts to vacant positions.
“It wasn’t that the university came and said that we need to make these cuts, and facilities is going to be cut first,” Kaiser said. “Facilities chose to make these reductions by vacancies.”
Kaiser added that it has been several years since the positions cut had been filled, so when the decision came to get rid of them, facilities management suffered no harm by it.
“What we found was there were a number of positions that had been vacant for over a year and in some cases more than two years,” Kaiser told The Temple News in August.
Kaiser said that by eliminating the positions, facilities management was able to operate much more efficiently.
“These were positions that were fully budgeted but not filled. By getting rid of them we could absorb work and do things more efficiently,” Kaiser previously told The Temple News. “We have taken every opportunity to be efficient.”
“In terms of employees having to take on more responsibility,” Kaiser added. “Things are being done more strategically now.”
Dominique Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.