UM headquarters lays off 16, cuts 6 vacant posts

May 08, 1993|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Staff Writer

The University of Maryland headquarters laid off 16 people yesterday, including attorneys, an associate vice chancellor and a receptionist, to cope with a 13 percent cut in its budget imposed by the General Assembly.

In addition, the Board of Regents eliminated six vacant positions and scaled back on telecommunications spending to deal with the legislature's $1.1 million cut.

It was the latest cut to what many in the legislature say was a bloated central bureaucracy administering the 11 campuses and three research institutions in the University of Maryland System. In the last threeyears, the legislature has cut the headquarters budget by some 57 percent. The reductions leave the headquarters in Adelphi, next to College Park, with a $7.3 million budget and about 95 positions. That's down from a high of 230 employees in 1990.

Even as the board was approving the belt-tightening, Regents Chairman George V. McGowan implicitly criticized lawmakers.

"In accepting this plan, we are not accepting the need for, or wisdom of, reductions in system administration," Mr. McGowan said. "This latest cut exceeds what good management practices would suggest is appropriate downsizing."

During the recently concluded legislative session, regents ViceChairman Roger R. Blunt said the board would resign as a group if a legislative panel followed through with a proposal to chop the headquarters budget by $2 million. The cut was later reduced to the final $1.1 million, and no regents resigned.

Some key lawmakers in Annapolis have accused the University of Maryland System of paying excessive salaries to administrators and of being slow to coordinate policies among its campuses. The regents maintain that administrators are paid competitive but reasonable salaries.

The layoffs were spread throughout the headquarters and included a secretary, a computer programmer and an auditor. Also let go was Joseph Brandon, an associate vice chancellor for student affairs. The three lawyers had provided legal services for the regents, the chancellor and campuses. Much of their work will be handled by attorneys assigned to the individual campuses.

Mr. McGowan encouraged the universities in the system to try to find jobs for those being laid off at headquarters.

In other action yesterday, the Board of Regents gave formal approval, as expected, to a plan to eliminate or modify some 60 academic programs at 10 of the 11 campuses. The regents earlier backed off from many of the most controversial proposed cuts, such as eliminating the chemistry and physics majors at Towson State University.

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