By Gina Calcamuggio
ATHENS, Ohio (April 30, 2007) -- University officials announced today that an employment freeze will go into effect immediately and continue through June 30 for classified nonbargaining positions on all six of Ohio University's campuses.
In preparation for projected budget shortfalls, University Human Resources said the freeze is necessary to administer its process for assisting classified employees whose positions are eliminated. Jim Kemper, associate vice president for finance and administration for human resources, said UHR currently is aware of seven classified position eliminations. There are approximately 650 classified nonbargaining employees at Ohio University who serve in technical and administrative support, accounting and records positions.
"We will do everything we can to get placement for classified employees affected by abolishments," Kemper said. "By suspending all employment action for this group -- including active searches -- we have the time we need to focus on working with our current employees."
When a position is abolished, it sets a series of connected steps into motion, explained Gwen Brooks, interim director of staffing and records for human resources. These steps include searching through existing vacancies and determining classified employees' retention points -- a scale that factors years of service and an employee's status as either full- or part-time.
"Working through this process means that some classified employees whose positions are abolished are able to move into another position, which may then displace a colleague holding that position," Brooks said. "Our ultimate goal is to get our existing employees placed with as little disruption as possible through this process." Work is already under way to find vacancies for those classified nonbargaining employees whose positions are slated to be abolished, Brooks added.
The freeze means all employment action for this group is placed on hold, which Kemper explained means no movement on such things as hiring, position re-evaluation, transfers, promotions or demotions. Similar freezes were implemented last year as well as in 2003 during the privatization of the College of Osteopathic Medicine's medical center, Brooks said.
UHR won't know the full impact realignments and reductions will have on staffing and positions until mid-May when final budget decisions are anticipated. Kemper said additional affected classified employees could expect news about the status of their positions by May 30. UHR also has been in communication with Classified Senate about the process, he said.
At this time, 18 other positions -- 16 administrative and two Group 2 faculty -- also have been identified for elimination in the next fiscal year. Kemper said these cuts represent decisions based on reorganization, performance factors or anticipated budget reductions. He said all affected employees in this group are aware of the status of their positions.
Brooks said classified employees with questions or concerns should call members of the UHR team at 740-593-1636.
Gina Calcamuggio is Ohio University's senior director of marketing communications.