Monday, July 20, 2009

Letter from President Whitmore

In my past two messages to you on the budget, I have discussed how the state's unprecedented revenue shortfall would require SJSU to fundamentally change the way we do business. I have also explained how San Jose State must make plans for covering an anticipated $40 million shortfall, while lawmakers continue working on a budget, because fall term begins next month.

Although we are still finalizing our budget plans, we know that furloughs will be one way we reduce spending. To that end, we have begun to assemble a furlough calendar for the 11-month period ending June 30, 2010. Many employees will take up to 24 furlough days, which works out to a 10 percent pay reduction over the 11 months. The pay reduction will be spread evenly over the 11-month period.

Our Human Resources department, in coordination with the president's cabinet, has drafted a furlough calendar. For now, the calendar applies to nearly all California State University Employees Union (CSUEU) members, confidential administrative support, and MPPs. I say nearly all because we know that there will be employees, very few, who we need to work on furlough days to meet compliance standards and operational requirements. We will provide these employees with alternative furlough calendars.

We are waiting for the chancellor's office to approve our draft furlough calendar. Meanwhile, I am writing today to share with you that SJSU's first planned furlough day for CSUEU members, confidentials and MPPs will be Monday, August 10. We are telling you this now because this is just a few weeks away, and we want you to have enough time to plan for the ways this will affect both your work and personal lives. The Union of American Physicians and Dentists has also agreed to furlough, but may do so on different days from most SJSU employees.

Please understand that our decision to ask you to furlough was not an easy one. However, given the magnitude of our budget shortfall, we have few good choices. No single strategy would yield the funding needed to meet our obligations to our students, employees and the greater community. If nearly every employee furloughs, we will save $18 million in the coming year.

What will a furlough day look like at SJSU? We hope that most of our furlough days will be held on Fridays, which are already relatively quiet on our campus. Most if not all business offices and buildings will be furloughed. However, King Library and University Housing will continue serving the campus community. In addition, the University Police Department will continue patrolling our campus and its environs. For this reason, public safety workers will be exempt from the furlough.

We know many of you will have very specific questions about how the furlough will be carried out. Our Human Resources department is working on addressing all procedural details. More information is forthcoming through emails like this one from me and the president's cabinet, as well as in person from your supervisors.

Meanwhile, bear in mind the following technical information provided by the CSU: "A furlough is a mandated period of time off without pay. Furloughs differ from salary reductions and pay cuts in that they are temporary and do not affect employment status, health benefit eligibility or pay rate for retirement benefits. Employees are not required to work on furlough days."

Should you have questions and concerns, there are a number of resources available to you. Consider speaking with your supervisor or contacting SJSU Employee Relations Manager Cindy Delgado at 408-924-2151 or . You may also submit your questions and comments via the SJSU budget information website. Please keep in mind that SJSU offers free counseling services of many kinds via our CONCERN Employee Assistance Program. I'll provide links to more information at the end of this letter.

Finally, I would like to emphasize the impact of the furloughs on you is a point not lost on me, my senior management team and the chancellor’s office. You will find below a link to a message from the chancellor's office detailing the many ways the budget shortfall will impact all of us. The good news is that we have begun to make the changes needed to align our expenses with our diminished state revenue. I remain confident that with your help we will weather this storm to emerge stronger than ever before.

Jon Whitmore

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