To all Faculty and Staff,
In December of 2009, to help address the imposition of a number of significant budget reductions to our campus' State budget and the probability that we would be faced with large cuts into the foreseeable future, I authorized the implementation of an "Expenditure Reduction Plan." It restricted non-faculty related transactions in many of our campus' funds. That action helped us to effectively deal with what ultimately became a total of $82 million worth of budget reductions and non-funded contractual salary increase costs. It has also generated savings which helped us to minimize the impact of those cuts on our academic mission. In addition the Project 50 Forward Operational Excellence initiative has fostered a university-wide climate of administrative efficiency which will be beneficial as we implement the goals associated with our approved SUNY 2020 plan: hiring more than 250 new faculty, decreasing our student-faculty ratios, increasing our graduation rates, and building an exciting new Medical and Research Translation (MART) building.
Even though the financial condition of the campus has improved over the past two years, primarily due to the SUNY 2020 initiative and the commitment by the State to not reduce SUNY's budget, a need still exists to keep the restrictions associated with the "Expenditure Reduction Plan" in place. It is also extremely important to ensure that our administrative operations are always kept as efficient as possible. In addition it is important to note that all of the additional SUNY 2020 revenue the campus receives is specifically targeted to fund new faculty, their support costs, and to provide for the important financial aid commitments we made as part of our plan. Even though the State has maintained its tax support for SUNY, every campus has still had to fund the increased costs of their operations (i.e. inflationary costs). Given this history, and the financial challenges and obligations we continue to face, the Expenditure Reduction Plan will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
The Budget Working Group (BWG), working with Deans and Vice Presidents, has provided an opportunity to review our hiring to ensure that we are being strategic in our recruitment decisions. Since 2009, the BWG has reviewed requests for close to 5,000 administrative positions. It is important to note this BWG review has not included Student employment, positions charged to direct research grants and contracts, Residence Hall Fund (DIFR), the University Hospital, Long Island State Veterans Home and the Dental Clinic. We continue to ask that departments look for ways to optimize program efficiencies, grow revenue streams, and explore the sharing of resources while maintaining fiscal responsibility. The BWG review process also ensures that we, as a University, continue and sustain changes we have made as a part of Operational Excellence, changes which will help us to support the future growth of the University. With this being said, we will continue to impose a freeze on administrative positions. As a reminder, this freeze includes all non-faculty positions, full and part-time, supported by the following funds: State Operating, Income Fund Reimbursable, SUTRA, Research Indirect Cost Return, Royalty accounts and Stony Brook Foundation unrestricted funds. We have exempted post-doctoral hiring and positions that are part of approved faculty start-up plans, as well as positions that involve health and safety.
Student employment is not subject to this freeze. Positions and other commitments charged to direct research grants and contracts, Residence Hall Fund (DIFR), the University Hospital, Long Island State Veterans Home and the Dental Clinic are exempt from the freeze and actions listed below. These funds are excused because they are self-supporting programs, separate and distinct from the State budget, with use of revenue essentially restricted to the fund's specific purpose.
Expenditure restrictions against non-salary budgets in the funds indicated above remain as follows:
All equipment purchases (defined as items costing $5,000 and above) require review and approval by the appropriate Dean or Vice President.
No new consultant contracts are permitted without approval of the Budget Working Group.
All travel expenditures must be approved by the appropriate Dean or Vice President.
Overtime will be carefully monitored and shall be restricted whenever possible.
Payments for work outside of current responsibilities, both via temporary salary increases or extra service payments, must be approved by the appropriate Dean or Vice President, and should be limited to the greatest degree possible. Promotions should not be processed based only on the need to add responsibilities.
Although we expect very few exceptions to these expenditure limitations, there will be cases where it is in the institution's best interest to proceed with a commitment. All appeals must be approved first by the appropriate Dean and/or Vice President before consideration by the Budget Working Group. Freeze exemption requests should be submitted to Human Resource Services who will then present them to the campus' Budget Working Group.
I'm grateful for your continued support of this plan. As we continue to look strategically at our recruitment plans the above conditions will remain in place until further notice.
Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.