Rerouting the Cash Flow

According to UC Chief Financial Officer Peter Taylor, the reallocation is part of an ongoing initiative to restructure the UC budget so that it reduces wasteful spending and puts emphasis on academics. Since 2008, the university has redirected $232 million from areas such as risk management and insurance into academic affairs.

Taylor said the changes are based on a series of UC Office of the President efficiency reports detailing how to streamline university spending. Currently, there is no set of standard criteria by which administrative sectors throughout the UC system will be restructured, but Taylor said he hopes to reduce “procurement,” or the acquisition of items such as office supplies.

“We spend $4 billion a year on everything from pens to calculators to fancy printer paper,” he said. “By deploying resources from that area, a conservative estimate says that we can save $100 million without cutting jobs.”

Taylor said this kind of consolidation would preserve the academic independence of the campuses while reducing the need for each campus to have an autonomous administrative sector.

“We’re a university that values autonomy and independence on the academic level, and the academics are what we’re known for,” Taylor said. “But we don’t necessarily need autonomy and independence in the administrative level. I have a definite bias for system administration to be centralized.”

Under the plan, the overall amount of campus funding allocated to each campus would not change. Taylor said that each campus has a block of funding that remains constant; savings will be made by shifting funds from administrative sectors into academic affairs instead.

“UCOP won’t be the command-and-control central of where this money goes,” Taylor said. “That’s the chancellor’s decision of which academic sector to put the extra money, —whether it be another poli-sci instructor or a biology researcher.”

Another reallocation effort will be consolidating human-resource centers. Although each campus will still have its own center, this plan would synchronize the various HR computer systems into a single database.

“If there’s someone in HR working at Berkeley and then goes down to UC San Diego, the different HR databases might not communicate, so he has to be added in as an employee again,” Taylor said. “That’s a waste of time and money, and the kind of thing we want to avoid. Same thing with payroll — there’s no reason to have 11 when we can get the system down to one.”

According to UC Vice President of Business Operations Nathan Brostrom, the campuses are also considering sharing resources such as medical and data centers, as well as centralizing different library databases.

A.S. Vice President of External Affairs Michael Lam said it is important to centralize student resources rather than cut them completely.

“I haven’t looked fully into it, but from what I know, they should be careful,” Lam said. “Student centers are here for a reason, and students use these resources to help them with academics, so we shouldn’t be cutting.”

Taylor said he is unsure whether the restructuring effort would include layoffs. He said there are currently 118,000 full-time administrative employees in the UC system — which includes a turnover of approximately 10,000 who leave each year, often due to retirement or transfer to other jobs.

“It’s hard to say if jobs will be cut, and we don’t have specific numbers yet,” Taylor said. ‘“We’re not embarking on this to whack jobs from the UC, but I can’t say that they won’t. But maybe if we redeploy these people, it’ll be a smarter use of the administration.”

Taylor’s proposal was well-received by UC Board of Regents Chair Russell Gould, who said the restructuring effort would be a high priority.

“We need [the regents’] support for this, and I think we got that today,” Taylor said.

Taylor will present a timeline for the implementation of these programs at the next regents meeting on July 13.

Readers can contact Angela Chen at [email protected].

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