Annotations of Town Hall 06/09/20
Present: David DeCenzo (President), Travis Overton (Vice President for Executive Initiatives/Chief of Staff), Carlos Johnson (VP of Legal Services/University Council), Dan Ennis (VP of Academic Affairs/Provost), David Frost (Chief Financial Officer), Carissa Maderas (Director of Emergency Management)
Disclaimer: The below annotations and timestamps are for reference only, compiled by volunteer staff. The below are for reference only.
Opening Remarks (0:36 – 11:00)
- 1:24 | Review of Phases to Cost Reduction. University is working with State HR to get their input on the development and implementation of the furlough plans, the development and implementation of the reduction in force plans, the voluntary retirement plans, and the incentive separation plans.
- 3:00 | The turnaround from State HR has slowed down. Hoping to get the go-ahead in the next few days to begin rolling out the plans.
- 3:15 | Phase 3 will be a function of enrollment. We won’t know enrollment until mid-August. Continuing to aim for the enrollment to be 15% or under.
- 3:39 | CHE and the General Assembly are asking for each institution to provide their worst case scenario, to ensure state institutions do not operate at a deficit.
- 4:24 | Furlough plans are right now for 20 days, or roughly 7.5% percent pay cut. President is taking a 15% cut or double furlough days. Executive Committee and senior administrators have been asked to also go beyond the 20 days. Many of our athletic coaches have taken additional furlough days.
- 5:51 | Reduction in force continues. Pending State HR finalizing.
- 6:15 | Cost Saving Committtee is evaluating the cost-saving recommendations for the university. Continue to submit ideas.
- 7:27 | A couple of weeks ago, enrollment was down 23 percent. The last number we saw was the 17% range. Still aiming at being under 15%.
- In budget cuts, additional cuts are being made to provide a surplus.
- 8:36 | The Coastal Comeback Plan. Bringing students back to campus in mid-August will require us to bring our employees back a couple of weeks prior to that. By mid-July we will start phasing staff back to campus, and most individuals will need to be back by end of July/early August.
Questions (11:00 – 61:25)
- 12:03 | Will employees be able to take all 20 furlough days together? How will furlough days work for faculty? If staff are able to take all 20 days together, they will be able to sign up for unemployment during that 20-day period.
- DeCenzo: Trying to mitigate impacts on university and scheduling with furloughs. Looking to implement staggered three day weekend (Friday or Monday off). It will probably not work in every single case, but we are trying to minimize the impact of the furlough. While a three day weekend won’t make it easier to swallow, at least will help for some planning purposes.
Explains he is spreading out furlough hours. We don’t want to overburden Payroll, but cannot talk specifics until plan is finalized.
- Ennis (15:28): Waiting for guidance from the state so that the furlough does not impact instruction. Faculty are on nine month appointments. So if the 20 days of furlough is applied, they can’t spread it over 12 months like staff members. Has identified 23 days in the academic calendar that would not impact instruction, but still working on a plan that ensures consistent paychecks and is consistent with state policy.
- 17:56 | Shouldn’t the number of furlough days be based on salary level?
- DeCenzo: The same number of days applies to everyone, even at higher pay levels. (nb: see next question)
- 18:34 | Are any individuals not participating in the furlough?
- DeCenzo: Yes. Anyone making less than $33,000 (125% of the poverty level for a family of four) annually will not be subject to furlough.
Most senior administrators/Executive Council members have agreed to take, in many cases, an addition 10 to 12 days.
- 20:23 | How are other state institutions utilizing furlough?
- DeCenzo: The General Assembly allowed for 20 days of furlough, but doesn’t have the specific information of what every other state institution is doing.
- 21:38 | Will the Childhood Development Center open in the Fall?
- Ennis: Faculty and staff should certainly look at alternatives to child care in the Fall if they used the center. Opening a child care center has additional guidelines to campus.
- 22:37 | There have already been people let go or laid off. It seems weird not to acknowledge this.
- DeCenzo: We have let go probationary and other employees in Phase 1. Phase 2 and 3 seperations are pending.
- 24:01 | Have next year’s operational budgets been figured, or are we waiting for state decisions before they’re assigned?
- Frost: Budgets will roll over, generally. 15% cut out of everybody’s supplies budget.
- 25:07 | Overton: Discusses individuals who could not perform their work due to critical and essential classifications, and have had to enter Leave without Pay or mandatory leave situations. See May 12’s Town Hall.
- 26:23 | Ennis provides context to where the faculty senate as a governing body plays a role in the process of providing feedback on class dilation, and what the plan is once faculty senate reviews that plan. Also discusses potential alternatives to sanitation by facilities staff.
- 31:44 | Will the furloughs affect retirement contributions?
- DeCenzo: No.
- 32:23 | Will the furlough allow us to balance the budget with a 15% reduction in enrollment?
- DeCenzo: No. We have a $23-25 million of cuts to ensure a balanced budget. Furloguhs will only provide us $7-7.5 million. When all of our plans are finally approved by State HR, we will give you a breakdown as to how each category contributes.
- 33:44 | Are we cutting any sports?
- DeCenzo: No. We’ve cut 38 positions in athletics. We were looking closely at eliminating a couple of sports. But the savings are not that great. The only sport that would have a significant impact for this university would be to cut football, and we’re not doing that.
Joe Moglia has offered to give his salary back. He will be paid in essence $1. And the savings from his salary is what is goignt obe used to keep those couple of sports that were going to be cut.
Athletic’s operating budget has been cut byt 15%.
- 36:11 | Why are people making $24,000 a year take days off for furlough?
- DeCenzo: Nobody who makes under $33,000 will be taking furlough.
- 37:15: Overton will collect a number of questions for the Academic Affairs Town Hall for Ennis.
- 39:50 | With the recent designation ofHorry County as a “hot spot” for COVID-19 Cases, what impacts does that have on our campus as a whole?
- Maderes: The designation is based on the positive cases per capita. That doesn’t mean that the entire county is a hot spot.
The Coastal Comeback Plan is coming out on the 15th.
As we moved into planning for the reopning, we expanded that organization [from 85 to 125 individuals in functioning committees]. Important to develop standards for our campus, and provide specific mitigation and prevention measures.
The plan will addressing 5 different areas: health screening and monitoring, public health practices and personal protective equipment, physical and social distancing, sanitation and disinfection, and testing.
In about a month, we will have an implementation guide. So the plan on the 15th is going to talk about what we’re doing on campus, and then we’ll have more information in the implementation plan [in July].
- 45:00 | What happens if we also get hit with a hurricane?
- DeCenzo: We’ll deal with it.
- Frost: Our total shortfall is $25.9 million, which gives a couple million of cushion.
- 45:39 | Can you explain the borad categories for cuts, and also explain the three days at Christmas we referenced earlier?
Reductions that we’ve already identified are $3.4 million.
The retirement plan and the voluntary sepeartion plan will give us, contingent on a projected 20% participation in those plans, will give us about $3.5 million of savings.
The faculty and staff reduction plans would be another $10 million.
The furlough plan would be about $7.3 million.
And we are also anticipating another mandatory leave of 3 days at Christmas, which is worth about $730,000.
Other expense reductions are about $2.3 million. (We anticipate supplies and travel being down significantly in the Fall.) All these reductions would give us about $4.4 million surplus.
- 49:03 | With budget cuts and travel restrictions, why did the University support Provost Ennis on his delivery of diploma trip?
- DeCenzo: Provost took his own time and funds to pay for that trip.
- 51:06 | Overton: If there are rumors, please ask.
- 53:09 | Is the furlough plan finalized?
- Overton: No. When it is finalized, we will create a town hall opportunity for colleagues to ask any clarifying questions.
- 54:00 | Overton thanks multiple individuals for their contriubutions, and explains why some questions are not being answered.
- 56:27 | Can you look at the rules governing outside employment? Can you look at that with respect to those who have taken furloughs, and are seeking outside employment?
- DeCenzo: Will take a look at it.
- 57:30 | Overton reiterates that they will work through the questions not answered, and then addresses national civic unrest. Encourages colleagues to reach out to eachother to check in.
- 60:30 | More information coming once we receive word from State HR.