CRG: Regent consultant proposes staff reductions, possibly hundreds, at Iowa universities Deloitte: changes could come through attrition, retirements
IOWA CITY — Eight new efficiency opportunities being considered by the Board of Regents could save tens of millions of dollars and eliminate more than 250 jobs across Iowa’s three public universities.
The administrative-related opportunities were identified and presented Thursday by Deloitte Consulting LLC, hired by the Board of Regents earlier this year to conduct a sweeping efficiency review of its system and institutions.
Rick Ferraro, a director for Deloitte, said his team hasn’t tallied exact totals in potential savings or staff reductions that could result from implementation of the new opportunities.
“And the term ‘position cut’ is a misnomer and is not representative of the way we are looking at the analysis,” Ferraro said.
Still, a 138-page proposal presented to the Board of Regents during a special meeting Thursday recommends significant changes to the organizational structure and staffing at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and University of Northern Iowa in the areas of finance, information technology, human resources, and facilities.
Deloitte representatives said there are “many ways to reduce staffing,” including natural attrition and retirements, according to Senior Manager Virginia Fraser.
“The decision about how to handle any staffing changes would be made by the board and universities,” according to the Deloitte report.
Details about specific positions that could be cut and departments that could be affected have not been made public. But some of the larger possible staff reductions were proposed in the areas of finance and human resources.
For example, by making suggested changes to its human resources operations, including investing in a new human resources information system, Iowa State staffing could be reduced by 61 full-time positions, according to Deloitte documents. Potential changes to the finance operating models at the three universities could result in a loss of 61 full-time positions at UI, 50 full-time positions at ISU, and 14 jobs at UNI.
The consultant’s overall estimated staff changes are greater than the suggested net reductions, as Deloitte also is proposing new hires and the creation of new positions, according to documents. For example, suggested changes to UI finance operations could produce a gross decrease of 112 full-time positions, with 51 new jobs added — resulting in the net loss of 61.
Deloitte officials said they operated under several assumptions in coming up with those estimates and developing recommendations on how to proceed — including global attrition rates, like expected retirements.
Their proposed approach to staff changes suggests allowing attrition to occur for two years from when implementation begins. Deloitte also assumes that if phased retirement is offered to employees, 25 percent of the eligible employees will take the offer.
The Board of Regents did not vote to move forward with the proposed opportunities Thursday. It will consider doing so in November — after a series of public hearings scheduled over the next two weeks on each university campus.
Regents President Bruce Rastetter said he expects university employees to have questions and concerns.
“There is going to be natural anxiety about how does this affect my job,” Rastetter said, adding that natural attrition will help with recommended reductions.
Still, he said, real and significant change is necessary to remain sustainable and viable into the future. And the Board of Regents has to stay focused on its customer — students and their families.
“Doing these things isn’t easy, and it does require culture change on campus to implement these changes,” Rastetter said.
Before reviewing the eight new efficiencies Thursday, the Board of Regents already had agreed to move forward with four other opportunities. Those include improvements to sourcing and procurement practices; simplifying search committee processes at the universities; creation of a common applicant portal for would-be students interested in more than one of the state schools; and improving a scoring system used to gauge applicants’ likelihood at success if admitted — known as the Regent Admission Index.
The board has agreed to contract with Deloitte to implement its sourcing and procurement changes — although details of that new contract have not been ironed out. To implement the other three suggestions, the board has directed university and board staff to lead the efforts.
Regarding the new efficiencies proposed Thursday, Deloitte suggested using a consultant to help with implementation in all but two. Deloitte recommended taking a “consultant coached” approach to three of the opportunities, a “consultant facilitated” approach to three, and a “university or board-driven” approach to the final two suggestions.
The board to date has agreed to pay Deloitte $3.3 million.
The board is planning to look at another five academic-related efficiencies in the future — but it’s unclear when those discussions might occur.
Other highlights from the report are broken down by suggested changes to finance, human resources, information technology and facility operations.
Suggestions include streamlining and standardizing finance transactions and exploring opportunities for “shared services.”
Estimates at UNI show finance-related changes could produce $3.5 million in savings over 10 years and reduce the staff by 14 full-time employees. Changes to ISU’s finance operations could save more than $13.3 million over 10 years and result in a net staff reduction of 50 full-time employees — a decrease of 95 positions coupled with 45 new jobs.
At UI, proposed changes could save $23.2 million and result in a net decrease of 61 full-time positions. Deloitte did not evaluate the finance work at the UI Hospitals and Clinics.
Suggestions include increasing the use of technology, clarifying roles, and establishing a comprehensive strategy.
Proposed changes at UNI could save $644,000 over 10 years and result in gross change to future staffing of 10 full-time positions. Changes at ISU could save $2.8 million over 10 years and result in a gross staffing reduction of 61 positions. And UI changes could save $8.5 million in a decade and eliminate 12 positions.
Suggestions include using technology innovations to cut costs, streamlining applications, transforming the central delivery model, and transforming the way service is distributed.
Proposed changes could result in $12.7 million at UNI, $40.2 million at ISU, and $56.1 million at UI. Possible staff changes were not estimated or not expected for all of the IT-related opportunities.
Suggestions include reducing utilities and operational costs by, for example, adjusting thermostats in classroom buildings when not being used.
Changes could result in $1 million in savings at UNI and $705,000 at ISU. Changes were not proposed for UI facility operations.
Read more at http://thegazette.com/subject/news/education/higher-education/university/regent-consultant-proposes-staff-changes-reductions-at-iowa-universities-20141002#EliSDpEeZUhxLiFS.99