Harford college chief plans to cut jobs Some administrators will not get new contracts

February 09, 1996|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,SUN STAFF

As part of a schoolwide restructuring, the new president of Harford Community College has informed 31 of its 36 administrators that their contracts are not being renewed.

Claudia E. Chiesi, who became president in May, said she did not know how many of the administrators, who have yearly contracts, will lose their jobs until the first phase of restructuring is completed May 1.

Faced with flat budget growth, Dr. Chiesi said her goal is to free $300,000 to $400,000 in the school's $18.4 million budget to upgrade core programs and buy new technology.

Some jobs may be combined, others replaced with outside contractors and some replaced with automation, she said, adding that some college programs also may be eliminated.

"The college is seeking a niche in several areas, including environmental science, graphic arts/communications, nursing and preparing students to transfer to four-year colleges," she said. "Regretably we may have to consolidate, eliminate or suspend other programs."

Dr. Chiesi denied she has targeted a specific number of jobs to cut. But several sources, including board members and County Council President Joanne Parrott, said Dr. Chiesi had told them she would cut 10 to 15 positions.

Two of the college's top administrators -- Steve Pannill, vice president of administration and finance, and Jerry Ryan, vice president of marketing, planning and development -- already have announced they are leaving in mid-March for jobs at other colleges.

Dr. Chiesi said she will assume many of the duties of the two positions, which are not among the 31 covered by the notices of nonrenewal.

The college is legally obligated to inform the 31 administrators by Thursday, Dr. Chiesi said. In the past, the contracts were almost always automatically renewed, she said.

The college, which has 244 full-time employees including administrators, is spending about $14 million -- 76 percent of its $18.4 million budget for fiscal 1995-1996 -- on salaries and benefits.

The range for most community colleges is 70 percent to 80 percent. "The closer you can get to that 70 percent figure, the easier it is to have money to spend in the classroom," Dr. Chiesi said.

Classroom instructors are not expected to be affected by the personnel cutback, but they and administrators who stay on may get a raise. The college's board of trustees recently proposed a 3.5 percent across-the-board pay raise for all employees, including administrators.

The increase is part of the college's $19.9 million budget request for the 1996-1997 fiscal year, an 8.4 percent increase in spending over this year.

The college's chances for full funding are slim, said county spokesman George Harrison. County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann has told all locally funded departments and agencies, including the college and school system, that budget increases must be kept to a minimum.

"Revenue growth is flat, there's only a 3 percent increase, so there is not a lot of money to go around," Mr. Harrison said. The county school board has asked for a 3.5 percent increase -- the smallest increase in more than 25 years.

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