uc_color_logo.jpgThe University of California at Berkeley will lay off 150 staff members between now and June, officials announced today.

The job cuts, which will mainly be administrative positions, are part of a three-year program that began in 2009 to save $75 million in university spending, a university spokeswoman said.

“The layoffs are a last resort,” spokeswoman Claire Holmes said.

She said this is the first part of the cost-cutting program, called “Operational Excellence,” and should save the university about $20 million.

“This exercise was designed to reduce the number of managers in our organization,” she said.

Information technology, administration, finance, and business services will all experience cutbacks, but none have been scheduled for custodians or faculty.

In addition, another 130 employees will be leaving voluntarily or for retirement, bring the total number of campus job eliminations in the past two years to about 500.

Holmes said another plan to save money is for the university to renegotiate contracts with the thousands of vendors it uses to buy items such as office supplies and technology.

“We think by negotiating fewer contracts, we can save millions of dollars,” she said.

The university has agreements with major suppliers such as OfficeMax because the company is able to handle high-volume requests, but, “We will always have relationships with a number of vendors in our local community,” Holmes said.

“We do want to support local businesses,” she said.

Holmes said the layoffs and contract renegotiations are all about finding ways to streamline university operations.

Many campus departments run relatively separately from one another, with up to two managers reporting to superiors. The layoffs are meant to reduce the number of managers and more effectively use the ones the university retained, she said.

The layoffs come on the heels of an increase in student applications for University of California campuses.

Applications for freshman undergraduates at all University of California campuses increased 5.7 percent from last year, but enrollment targets for UC Berkeley remain relatively unchanged.

“Unfortunately, these students are entering this part of their life at a time when state funding is decreasing,” Holmes said about the application increase.

Newly sworn-in Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday proposed a budget that would cut California higher education funds by $1.4 billion; $500 million of that would be taken from the UC system.

“California wants us to have the students but they keep cutting the money,” Holmes said.

Saul Sugarman, Bay City News

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  • Cal Cal

    Universityofcalifornia,Berkeley: A striking portrayal of incompetence. University of California Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau’s eight-year fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving him every dollar he has asked for, and the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.

    A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies in the system and then crafting a plan to fix them. Competent oversight by the Board of Regents and the legislature would have required him to provide data on problems and on what steps he was taking to solve them. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, and the problems just piled up to $150 million of inefficiencies….until there was no money left.

    It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste and inefficiencies in the system. Faculty and staff have raised issues with senior management, but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3 million) consultants, Bain & Company, to tell him what he should have been able to find out from the bright, engaged people in his own organization.

    In short, there is plenty of blame to go around. Merely cutting out inefficiencies will not have the effect desired. But you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. An opportunity now exists for the UC President, Board of Regents, and California Legislators to jolt UC Berkeley back to life, applying some simple oversight check-and-balance management principles. Increasing the budget is not enough; transforming senior management is necessary. The faculty, Academic Senate, Cal. Alumni, financial donors, benefactors await the transformation of senior management.
    The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way senior management work.

    (Cal (UC Berkeley) ranking tumbles from 2nd best. The reality of University of California Berkeley’s (UC Berkeley) relative decline are clear. In 2004, for example, the London-based Times Higher Education ranked UC Berkeley the second leading research university in the world, just behind Harvard; in 2009 that ranking had tumbled to 39th place.)

    University of California, Berkeley in the news

  • Cal Cal

    Universityofcalifornia,Berkeley: A striking portrayal of incompetence. University of California Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau’s eight-year fiscal track record is dismal indeed. He would like to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving him every dollar he has asked for, and the state legislators do share some responsibility for the financial crisis. But not in the sense he means.

    A competent chancellor would have been on top of identifying inefficiencies in the system and then crafting a plan to fix them. Competent oversight by the Board of Regents and the legislature would have required him to provide data on problems and on what steps he was taking to solve them. Instead, every year Birgeneau would request a budget increase, the regents would agree to it, and the legislature would provide. The hard questions were avoided by all concerned, and the problems just piled up to $150 million of inefficiencies….until there was no money left.

    It’s not that Birgeneau was unaware that there were, in fact, waste and inefficiencies in the system. Faculty and staff have raised issues with senior management, but when they failed to see relevant action taken, they stopped. Finally, Birgeneau engaged some expensive ($3 million) consultants, Bain & Company, to tell him what he should have been able to find out from the bright, engaged people in his own organization.

    In short, there is plenty of blame to go around. Merely cutting out inefficiencies will not have the effect desired. But you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. An opportunity now exists for the UC President, Board of Regents, and California Legislators to jolt UC Berkeley back to life, applying some simple oversight check-and-balance management principles. Increasing the budget is not enough; transforming senior management is necessary. The faculty, Academic Senate, Cal. Alumni, financial donors, benefactors await the transformation of senior management.
    The author, who has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at University of California Berkeley, where he was able to observe the culture and the way senior management work.

    (Cal (UC Berkeley) ranking tumbles from 2nd best. The reality of University of California Berkeley’s (UC Berkeley) relative decline are clear. In 2004, for example, the London-based Times Higher Education ranked UC Berkeley the second leading research university in the world, just behind Harvard; in 2009 that ranking had tumbled to 39th place.)

    University of California, Berkeley in the news