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Published: Saturday, 1/3/2009

Bowling Green State University set to lay off 43 salaried employees

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Bowling Green State University plans to lay off more than 40 salaried employees at the end of the school year in anticipation of budget cuts next year.

Forty-three employees were sent letters throughout December - some on Christmas Eve - informing them their contracts will not be renewed at the end of this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The reduction is expected to save the university nearly $2 million next fiscal year, university spokesman Dave Kielmeyer said.

"We've got 43 people who have been notified that their contract will not or may not be renewed, so there is still some uncertainty there," Mr. Kielmeyer said.

"This is a very fluid situation. The economy impacts our decisions, and of course, what the state will do with its budget," Mr. Kielmeyer said.

The administrative staff employees represent all nonfaculty salaried workers at the university, such as managers and directors in financial aid, residence life, and student services.

It is university policy to give salaried employees six months' notice, so they had to be notified by the end of December.

Mr. Kielmeyer confirmed some employees received their layoff notices the day before Christmas and that the university is working to make sure communications are more sensitive in the future.

"There were a handful of folks that did receive a letter on Christmas Eve, which was unfortunate," he said.

"It shouldn't have happened that way and we regret that it happened that way."

The 43 employees represent about 7 percent of the administrative staff department, which has 657 workers.

The university also has 935 hourly employees and 1,274 faculty members for a total of 2,866 permanent employees.

The university expects another round of layoffs before the year's end that will affect the hourly employees, Mr. Kielmeyer said.

Unlike the salaried employees, they will receive just a two-week notice instead of a six-month notice.

Part of the reason the 43 salaried employees are to be let go now is because some were funded in part by the state Success Challenge program, the funding for which has been reduced and is at risk of being eliminated in the future, Mr. Kielmeyer said.

The program provides financial rewards to colleges for helping students graduate in a timely manner.

An additional 24 administrative staff employees have been notified their contracts will be changed, which could result in a reduced salary. For example, a 12-month contract could be reduced to nine or 10 months, Mr. Kielmeyer said.

While staff changes are something the university goes through every year at this time, this is a larger amount than recent years because of the economy.

"This is certainly the most severe economic downturn and staff reductions we've experienced in the last decade," Mr. Kielmeyer said.

The layoffs are in addition to a hiring freeze BGSU has been in for several months in an effort to save $600,000 this year by not filling the average of 20 positions that are open at any given time.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:

mgilbert@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.



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