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Work group seeks employee comments on holiday break closure

Deadline to leave feedback is Feb. 28

The Ohio University Holiday Closure Work Group is charged with drafting a recommendation to be given to the Holiday Closure Work Group Oversight Team regarding whether a university-wide closure during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day would aid the university in its multi-year budget planning.

The Oversight Team includes Steve Golding, Vice President for Finance and Administration; Pam Benoit, Executive Vice President and Provost; Willem Roosenburg, Faculty Senate, and President Roderick J. McDavis.

The 10-person Work Group is creating a benchmarking survey, which includes the holiday closure policies and procedures already in place at the member institutions of the Inter-University Council and Mid-American Conference as well as peer institutions.

Members of the Work Group, which is co-chaired by Jen Haft, Office of the President, and George Cheripko, Classified Senate, include Scott Carpenter, Administrative Senate; Gwen Brooks, University Human Resources; Mike Gebeke, Facilities; Kyle McKenzie, International Student and Faculty Services; Patti McSteen, Student Affairs; Chad Mitchell, Finance and Administration; Jo Ellen Sherow, Research, and Traci Winchell, Classified Senate. 

The project was established in response to an April 2009 Classified Senate recommendation to President McDavis that suggested the University close during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day as a cost-saving strategy. President McDavis then asked Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding to gather information, data, and input from the university community on the possibility of having a university-wide closure.

The Work Group is now in the preliminary stages of its work. It is gathering information about units' supplies, salaries, and benefits for employees, who will be affected by such a closure.

Unit managers were recently asked to share essential functions that are performed in their area during the proposed week of closure, the number of full-time employees required to fulfill those functions, and the employees' job classifications. 

The Work Group will include in its recommendations, options for accounting for employee time off during the closure. Possible options include utilization of vacation days, personal time, and voluntary leave without pay. A furlough is not being considered as a means to accounting for time off.

"The Work Group currently is conducting an analysis of the strengths, risks, and communications associated with closing the university," said Golding."We are looking at everything, including how this would affect student and temporary employees and how many people typically take vacation that week. We want everyone's voice to be heard before a final decision is made."

Feedback on the proposed closure can be left at www.ohio.edu/budget/feedback/ through Feb. 28.

After the feedback is collected and analyzed, the Work Group will discuss the results with the executive leadership of the Administrative, Classified and Faculty Senates before submitting a final recommendation to the president in mid- to late-March. Questions or comments also can be shared with the members of the Work Group.