From the perspective of the classified staff, I am having difficulty putting into words a response that accurately reflects a wide range of thoughts, beliefs, emotions and truths.
It would have been easier for all of us if the administration had just told you and the Budget Development Subcommittee, that they were satisfied with their budget proposal and that they were not going to change anything from what you saw last Wednesday. That would have saved us all grief, anxiety and time. The committee only was told that important piece of information during the last 15 minutes of the last meeting. You could have voted and been done last week.
Instead, we worked through all of the unresolved budget items, we obtained some new information, worked through some deep discussions, but we were not really working toward a consensus budget. That idea was doomed after our meeting on May 9th, 2017.
We only could have achieved a consensus budget if the rest of the Budget Development Committee members all agreed with the Administrative Budget Proposal.
We had pretty robust discussion about the open management positions. I think we all agreed that it was important to support students in filling part or all or of the management positions in Enrollment and Student Financial Services. I appreciate the information received today from Academic and Student Affairs about the management positions. This data would have been helpful for our discussions, but we did not ask for it. We are still waiting for a release of the final product from the redesign committee, which includes an organizational chart. This is important to classified staff as it directly affects them.
Budget reductions, in general, put the unions in a very awkward role of staff advocacy and not being the one to say cut us. Students are in a position of wanting to maintain adequate access to a quality education and at the same time, keep that education affordable. Management, not being a union represented group, play an important part in their perspective and advocacy. However, they are in an interesting advocacy for fellow managers while trying to appear to support the administration.
The students have stepped up and offered some unique perspectives and ideas through student fees to save important items to them such as access to academic programs, mental health counseling and the health clinic.
From the classified perspective, we have taken on a lot as many of our colleagues have taken advantage of the separation agreements. These employees carried an enormous amount of institutional knowledge that may or may not have been transferred to their fellow co-workers. Since only about one third of the positions have been funded, that has shifted the workload up, down and across the organization. Many things are getting left undone.
One example is the Telecommunications position in Information Technology. This position may actually have been taken for granted for many years. Virginia, prior to her retirement, worked in this position and ensured that the phone on your desk works, has the features needed, can call long distance and that the billing was done, correctly.
This position was posted, the interview committee interviewed the prospective employees and then the funding was pulled for the position. Currently there are five people, including a contractor, covering all aspects of this job while job tickets for service keep growing. This position is a level 13 position and all of the staff assigned a part of this job are in a higher pay level.
Another example, are the important positions in the Career Center. In the updated administrative budget there is funding for one position to be retained, but that breaks up this very efficient team of four. Not a big group, but one of the most effective Lane teams This team delivers career support and training in addition to providing numerous services commonly found in Enrollment and Student Financial Services. When there are no windows open or no one able to answer the phones, students visit the Career Center for help. This team has helped hundreds of students and helped them be successful professionally and academically. Now this team is targeted for a breakup.
The deficit is real, no doubt, but we seem to have a difference of opinion on how to go about closing that gap. The majority report of the Budget Development Subcommittee tries to balance the budget while maintaining contracted staff levels, we tried to maintain programs for students, and we tried to look to the future for growing programs and ideas to help the college move forward.
We have offered you hours of testimony, documents and personal stories. You have a lot of information before you and we now look to you to make the difficult choices.