Facility Services not laying people off despite budget cuts

Will Alsdorf

Facility Services, the department responsible for UT’s maintenance and grounds, is not planning to reduce its services or lay off staff despite Universitywide budget reductions for the upcoming fiscal year, said a University official Wednesday.

The department expected budget reductions and planned ahead for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which begins Sept. 1, said Steve Kraal, senior associate vice president in the Office of Campus Planning & Facilities Management. Planning ahead allowed it to reduce the costs of its services without reducing the level, he said.

“We increased efficiency,” Kraal said.

One way Facility Services reduced spending was by creating a retirement incentive program that eliminated a number of positions, Kraal said.

The program gives staff members incentives to retire early, which ultimately costs less.

“We eliminated vacant positions,” Kraal said. “We’re eliminating overall operating expenditures.”

Some positions vacated by the retirement incentive program were later filled by people with less experience who did not require salaries as high as those who retired, Kraal said.

“We’re not laying any people off,” Kraal said. “We were planning for this [budget reduction] to happen. So we did not fill all our positions in anticipating that.”