From the President: Budget Alignment Strategy

Budget Situation
Over the past three years, several actions have caused shortfalls in the allocations received in our state purpose fund accounts. The major actions include midyear budget reductions applied from SUNY and the requirement to pay negotiated salary increases that were not funded in the allocations. These shortfalls have created a gap between our income and operating expenses. We have addressed some of this gap by taking a 3.5 percent across-the-board reduction from all accounts, controlling hiring and thus reducing payroll costs, and using one-time funds from over-enrollment and Income Fund Reimbursable (IFR) cash reserves.

This leaves us today still facing a net gap of $6,400,000 between our revenue and operating expenses. Based on what we know at this time, we must find ways to permanently address this gap by reducing our state operating expenditures and/or enhancing our revenues. Additionally, a deficit in the academic affairs budget from the last round of budget cuts that was back-filled by $1.5 million must now be addressed permanently.

Key Principles
We can adopt some key principles to ensure that the best options and strategies for reducing expenditures and enhancing revenue are indentified:

  • Revenue enhancements are equivalent to budget reductions in filling the gap.

  • We will use a two-year timeline; however, the early retirement incentive may offer flexibilities this year that we will not have next year. Therefore, we may be best served by making the biggest reduction that we can this year. Units will not be penalized for achieving the goal in year one.

  • We will reduce fairly and rebuild strategically.

  • Strategic changes are best, but opportunities may arise that provide time to realign strategically.

  • We will focus on solutions, looking for smart, clever ideas. We will create efficiencies, eliminate roadblocks and redundancies, and reexamine policies and practices that create work with marginal returns or that can be accomplished in other ways. We will reorganize, realign, and eliminate. We will be creative, listen to others, and collaborate—within and across departments, schools, and institutions when possible and advantageous. We will be concerned about people. We will accept this challenge and take responsibility for our decisions.

The proposed timeline for closing the budget gap is outlined below in four phases. All tasks in Phase I have been completed but may need to be revisited if any additional changes are received from SUNY. Please note that all dates in Phases II, III, and IV are target dates and may shift according to information received throughout the process.

Phase I
Define the scope of the task.

  1. Verify total funding gap: Pending any enrollment changes or additional news from Albany, this has been completed. The net gap currently stands at $6,400,000.

  2. Define budget gap target per division: Pending any enrollment changes or additional news from Albany, this has been completed. These figures have been shared with the President’s Cabinet and the deans. Each division will be assigned an amount that is proportional to the division’s budget. Each division will have the freedom to make the best and smartest decision for its units.

  3. Identify membership of university budget advisory committee: The Budget Committee of the College Planning Council (CPC) will serve as the advisory committee for this process. The members of the committee for 2010–2011 are as follows:

    Aaron Podolefsky, President
    Dennis Ponton, Provost
    Stanley Kardonsky, Vice President for Finance and Management and Committee Chair
    Benjamin Christy, Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities
    Ted Schmidt, Chair of the College Senate Budget and Staff Allocation Committee, and Faculty Representative for the School of Natural and Social Sciences
    Hal Payne, Vice President for Student Affairs
    Yves Gachette, Institutional Research Representative
    Robert Wood, Faculty Representative for the School of Arts and Humanities
    Slade Gellin, Faculty Representative for the School of the Professions
    Awilda Ramos Zagarrigo, Faculty Representative for the School of Education
    Rebecca Schenk, Staff Support
    Lindsey Porter, United Students Government President

Phase II
Solicit and receive university-wide constituency input: Target Date: February 15, 2011.

  1. University-wide solicitation of strategies (ideas) for reducing the budget gap will be solicited from faculty, staff, and students via a weekly message posted in the Daily each Thursday from December 23 through February 9. The message will invite all individuals to submit suggestions, ideas, and comments to their department supervisors, unit leaders, and constituency representatives (e.g., United Students Government, College Senate, Professional Staff Caucus) by February 15, 2011.

  2. Suggestions and comments from constituency groups (e.g., College Senate, United Students Government, Professional Staff Caucus) may also be sent directly to the chair of the CPC Budget Committee, Vice President Stanley Kardonsky, or divisional leadership (e.g., vice presidents, deans, department chairs, managers, supervisors).

  3. The provost and vice presidents will engage units within their respective divisions as appropriate to receive additional input and identify measures to close the gap.

Phase III
Conduct administrative review and consultation; promulgate decision.

  1. The CPC Budget Committee and vice presidents will meet by February 22, 2011, to discuss divisional reductions and university-wide impacts of individual decisions.

  2. The President’s Cabinet will review all information and make recommendations to the president by March 7, 2011.

  3. Decisions will be published for final comment by March 10, 2011.

  4. President’s final decision will be publicized to the university community by March 15, 2011.

Phase IV
Begin standard budget development process for 2011–2012.

  1. The standard institutional budget process will begin with base budget summaries and department details for the 2011–2012 budget distributed to vice presidents, deans, and department heads by
    March 18, 2011.

  2. All department heads will complete account reviews by April 9, 2011.

  3. The provost and vice presidents will hold discussions with their respective direct reports from April 11 to April 14, 2011.

  4. The president will consult with the provost and vice presidents from April 15 to April 28, 2011.

  5. The provost and vice presidents will complete their account reviews by May 6, 2011.

  6. The July 1, 2011, departmental allocations and files will be verified and frozen by the college Budget Office by May 20, 2011.

  7. The July 1, 2011, departmental allocations will be submitted to SUNY System Administration by June 6, 2011.

Distributed December 16, 2010