May 12, 1994
Vol. 13, No. 18

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    Administrative cost savings of $2.5 million achieved

    Central administrative units have achieved President Sonnenschein's target of $2.5 million in administrative cost savings for 1994-95, Lawrence Furnstahl, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, has announced.

    "This is just a first step toward our goal of a balanced budget, but it is a significant one," Furnstahl said.

    The savings have been achieved through the elimination of 21 staff positions, energy savings, increased income from auxiliaries, elimination of tuition payments by credit card and reduced operating expenses, he said.

    Sonnenschein has set a target of $10 million in savings from the budget base for administrative functions over the next four years. That target includes successive reductions of $2.5 million in fiscal years 1994-95 through 1997-98.

    "Most of the reductions represent new initiatives, but others -- like energy conservation -- build on several years of effort," Furnstahl said.

    The staff reductions affect positions in Facilities Planning & Management and Energy Conservation, the Comptroller's Office, University News & Community Affairs and the offices reporting to the Chief Financial Officer. Because some of these positions were vacant, the reductions have resulted in 14 layoffs.

    The administrative cost savings include:

    _ A reduction in operating expenses in the President's, Provost's and Development offices of $227,000.

    _ A reduction in the utilities budget, based on the cumulative impact of conservation projects and recent patterns of energy usage, totaling $500,000.

    _ Net income from Real Estate Operations, the Bookstore and Printing Services is projected to increase $429,000. The largest increases are expected to come from Real Estate Operations.

    _ Elimination of positions in the Comptroller's Office and reduced electricity and maintenance costs as a result of new technology in Administrative Computing are expected to save $380,000.

    The staff reductions will result in modest service reductions in the Loan Center, Accounts Payable, Payroll and General Accounting & Financial Reporting.

    _ The elimination of the renovation and construction group and other efficiencies in Facilities Planning & Management, along with increased bus and parking fees, will net $302,000.

    Because of changes in anticipated work load, the department expects to be able to purchase architectural services from outside sources at lower costs than could be provided in-house, realizing substantial net savings.

    Parking fees will increase 10 percent; bus tickets will increase to $1.25.

    _ The University will stop accepting credit-card payments for tuition and room and board, eliminating the fee the University pays credit-card companies, saving $200,000. (The University will continue its various tuition-payment plans.)

    _ Eliminated positions in University News & Community Affairs, together with efficiencies in the Police Department, will save $147,000.

    _ Through eliminated positions and other economies, primarily in the Budget Office and Internal Audit, the office of the Chief Financial Officer will reduce expenses by $126,000.

    _ A number of adjustments in the University's insurance program are expected to save $100,000.

    _ Transferring certain Argonne-related employee-benefits expenses to Argonne National Laboratory will save $89,000.

    "As promised, all of the savings in next year's budget have come from central administrative units," Furnstahl said.

    Over the next several months, the Steering Committee on Administrative Cost Reduction will develop and propose a plan for a further $7.5 million reduction in the budget base for administrative functions. Since the focus of the committee's work will be on functions rather than units, Furnstahl said, he expects that the resulting savings will be distributed throughout the University.