June 17, 2011 - Soft Freeze Implementation

Dear Faculty and Staff;

The Governor has signed into law the 2011-2013 biennial budget resulting in a net 3.3% budget shortfall and calling for a reduction in compensation of an additional 3.0%.  The good news is that the budget lifts many of the freezes in hiring and travel we have experienced the last two years.  The not so good news is that the recovery has not begun and the revenue forecast continues to be down.  The most recent revenue forecast is down $572 million.

This points to a need to be fiscally prudent.  Consequently while the College is relieved of the Office of Financial Management (OFM) freezes we are compelled to institute our own “soft freeze” at least for the next year.  The intent of the internal “soft freeze” is to not be as onerous as the ones we have just experienced yet still allow some financial oversight at the divisional level. The freezes listed below are for all funds with the vice presidents having discretion to approve blanket exceptions for certain funds.  Quarterly reports on the various categories will be provided to Senior Staff. The following are the elements of the “soft freeze” effective July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012:

Out-of-state travel – Currently any out-of-state travel requires approval on the Travel Authority by either the budget coordinator or vice president. The out of state travel authorization form will now need the signature of a vice president.  

Hiring of Permanent Staff – A Personnel Request Form and a PAF for both classified and exempt positions must be approved by both the appointing authority and the divisional vice president, and include the signature of the budget coordinator. This does not apply to student or temporary positions (STAFs).

Personal Service Contracts – These expenditures will require the signature of the vice president.

Equipment Over $5,000 – Any time a purchase requisition is completed for an equipment purchase for over $5,000, an e-mail will be sent from the vice president to the Purchasing and Contracts Office approving the purchase. (The $5,000 threshold on purchasing that needs a VP’s signature is for single items meeting that dollar amount.  A combined order of multiple items totaling $5,000 or more, where no single item exceeds $5,000, is not subject to the freeze.)

The OFM freeze on salary increases has not been lifted (this includes permanent, temporary and student employees) and remains in place for the biennium (through June 30, 2013) with a few exceptions.  One of those exceptions is for retention of employees who are in the process of receiving an offer to work elsewhere.  Laurel Uznanski in Human Resources will be developing a form for the vice presidents to use in the case of a salary increase due to retention.  Salary increases for anything other than employee retention are not allowed. 

Again, the intent of our internal process is not to create more work but rather to allow us to monitor our divisional and college wide expenditures in this continued uncertain economic climate.  Evergreen has done very well in conserving and managing its financial resources and this is in large part due to each of you helping us control costs.  I would ask for your continued assistance and hope you understand the need for some on going fiscal restraints.

Thank You and Kindest Regards,
John Hurley