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Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

Polite Questions for Admin

My gut feeling is that the UCOP shop gets its big slice of state money for only one reason -- to keep the state money flowing -- and that it's not really doing the job. UCOP's been mediocre at this for years. I spent six years on the Academic Senate's systemwide planning and budget committee listening to UCOP explain why it couldn't do more, and why the Compact had saved UC -- even after our Futures Report (see Links) showed arithmetically that it had actually hurt us.

UCOP has crashed and burned this time around. Its reorganization has disrupted every unit, fired or driven away lots of good, experienced people, and, according to my colleagues who still work there, politicized nearly every decision and relationship by turning each into a contest for advantage. These are the classic symptoms of disruptive downsizing - really first-year MBA textbook stuff. UCOP has fallen into this because the point of the reorg has not been operational but political. It originated in an attempt to signal toughminded cutting to the chair of the Board of Regents, the political insider Richard Blum, and has remained a symbolic effort to this day, though one with massive disruptive effects for former and current employees and for the UC system as a whole.

At a moment when UC needs a militant, powerful UCOP, it has a disorganized, politicized one: UCOP's planning is limited to cutting (see Blum-Yudof letter under links). It is accompanied by a probably unprecedented power grab by the president himself (new unilateral powers in any self-declared emergency). UCOP relations with the public remain bad, the compensation scandal keeps having after shocks, and it hatched its 8% salary reduction plan - the worst thing for sagging faculty morale and daily operations in more than a generation - without any justification or even math that adds up.

But why muse gloomily when we can ask questions at upcoming town halls for unhappy faculty? A few suggestions:
  1. What are the origins of the 8% cut figure?
  2. Why does it seem to generate so much more than the $192 million Mark Yudof claimed?
  3. What alternative savings scenarios that do not involve economically counterproductive pay cuts are being considered?
  4. Why were they rejected?
OK that's actually really one question.

Another two:
5. what are examples of concrete educational effects of cuts of this magnitude on students, staff, and faculty?
6. why aren't you openly explaining to students and parents what will happen to them at UC next year, and how the cuts will damage their education and their university?

Meanwhile, Arnold seems to be using the crisis to ask for everything on his Christmas list, including cutting public pensions. He has other desires as well - to show that the in-home services program he wants to cut doesn't really need so much money because it is riddled with fraud.
He said he wants caregivers and patients to be fingerprinted as a way to prevent fraud and institute unannounced compliance checks at recipients' homes.

"The legislators upstairs, some of them, are very reluctant to do that. They feel that it would be an insult to fingerprint a patient," Schwarzenegger said during his own news conference. "I always tell them that fingerprinting is quite common in a lot of different areas."

1 comments:

Percival said...
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