In light of Miami University’s recent fiscal difficulties and the announcement that 100 employees could lose their jobs, Vice President of Finance and Business Services David Creamer held a series of open financial forums to discuss budget constraints with staff members.
Creamer held the financial forums Tuesday and Thursday on all three campuses for any staff or faculty members not sure of Miami’s financial future.
Beside universities and colleges, Creamer said times are tough for Ohio in general.
“Ohio’s Congress has cut the budget three times in the course of the past few months,” Creamer said.
However according to Creamer, the two state cuts affecting higher education in Ohio have not been drastic and Gov. Ted Strickland made it clear that universities will remain a priority in the state budget.
At the forum, the audience was primarily made up of Oxford residents who have spent much of their life working for the university.
To offset the number of potential layoffs and ease the budget, Miami announced Sunday a $10,000 cash “golden parachute” to encourage older staff members to retire early. Creamer said the new incentive program is mainly for those who have worked for 30 or more years.
However, not all present were happy with the program.
“The $10,000 buyout is a nice gesture, but many of us believe that it is not nearly enough to take advantage of the incentive,” said Linda Knowles, a member of the Classified Personnel Advisory Committee (CPAC).
After the floor opened for questions, audience members barraged Creamer with questions on how and under what circumstances Miami was going to let 100 staffers go.
Creamer made clear that the budget problems were serious.
“Budget cuts of this magnitude will affect our employees and the job terminations will be permanent,” Creamer said.
Jim Partridge, a master trades specialist in building maintenance, said he thinks Miami has been spending irresponsibly for years.
“Miami over the course of the past several years has been dumping money into new buildings without worrying if economic times would ever go sour,” Partridge said. “Now a hundred people will be out of jobs by summer.”
Creamer noted that recently laid-off workers can utilize Miami’s Career Placement Services, a place that helps Miami employees and students write resumes and practice for future job interviews.
To offset even more of the budget deficit, Creamer said Miami will also look into accepting more out-of-state students since they take up less than one-third of the student population but make up for half of the total tuition. Creamer said to help ease budget constraints, a vast majority of construction plans are being held off, including the proposed Bicentennial Student Center.