State budget crisis affects hiring at BU

For immediate release: Dec. 23, 2008

BLOOMSBURG — Six of seven vacant management positions will not be filled at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania during the current fiscal year as part of belt-tightening efforts related to the continuing economic crisis in the commonwealth. This fiscal year runs from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009.

John Cavanaugh, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), announced on Friday (Dec. 19) that a total of 128 positions at the chancellor's office and the 14 PASSHE universities, including BU, will not be filled during the next six months. The salaries of approximately 1,500 managers, administrators and other non-union employees across the System also will be frozen for at least six months.

BU President David Soltz said positions affected by the hiatus in hiring include the new dean of the College of Business, a position vacant since September.

"Dennis Gehris, who has served as interim dean of the College of Business since last fall, will continue in the position during the spring semester and possibly through 2009-2010," Soltz said. "The duties associated with additional vacancies will continue to be carried out by other managers across campus."

Soltz noted that Bloomsburg and the other 13 universities may still hire additional faculty to meet students' classroom needs and may fill other vital positions. BU will proceed with plans to recruit a vice president for University Advancement, which he called "a critical revenue-generating position in this time of economic uncertainty." The position should be filled in July or August 2009, he added.

Among the other positions that will remain vacant at Bloomsburg University are the Web and portal manager, director of library sciences and director of planning and assessment.

"This action is necessary in light of current economic conditions facing both PASSHE and the commonwealth," said Chancellor Cavanaugh. "Our first priority is to ensure our students continue to receive the high-quality education they expect and deserve."

PASSHE's Board of Governors agreed in October to Gov. Ed Rendell's request to return $22 million of state funding to help address an expected $1.6 billion budget shortfall. The $22 million is equal to 4.25 percent of the nearly $520 million PASSHE expected to receive in 2008-09. The Board of Governors will hold a budget workshop in conjunction with the regular January 2009 meeting to further review PASSHE's fiscal situation.

Additional information on PASSHE's cost-saving measures.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Professional Studies, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.