The Water Cooler
Share Your Creative Solutions!
Do you have
suggestions for addressing The University of New Mexico budget cuts? We are
looking for BOTH cost savings and revenue generating suggestions. Students,
faculty and staff are invited to share their creative suggestions and ask
questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suggestions & Comments Guidelines
The Water Cooler
Visit The Water Cooler and share your
rumors with the rest of campus. We will address rumors as we hear them.
E-mail us with
what you are hearing.
Your source for validating and debunking rumors and other stories at UNM.
October 1, 2009
I have been told the University is getting rid of the voice mail system to save money. Is this true?
The University has over 9,000 voice mail accounts, and that has remained steady. Some departments may choose to reduce the number of accounts they hold.
Suggestion - Money Saving
1. Electricity conservation: Reduce UNM’s electricity bill further by matching the brightness of internal and external lighting to the purpose. For example, hallways and bathrooms need not be as illuminated as brightly as classrooms, so some percentage of the fluorescent tubes can be removed. Motion detectors installed throughout the campus can also conserve energy and reduce costs. Replace fluorescent tubes and CFLs with LED lighting as the latter technology matures and hits the market. I replaced 25-watt incandescent bulbs in a chandelier at home with 1.5 watt LED bulbs from Costco, which dramatically reduced the energy consumed by that fixture. Imagine the tremendous savings for UNM by deploying state-of-the-art lighting technology ASAP.
2. VOIP Long Distance Service: Reduce UNM’s long-distance phone bill by adopting Internet long-distance throughout the institution.
Staff Council has received several reports of a rumor that staff will be forced to take this coming Winter Break as unpaid leave. We have been told that this is untrue and have tried to get this information out, but it would beneficial to have an answer posted on this website.
This is not true; UNM Business Policy 3405 designates Winter Break as an observed holiday.
Suggestion - Money Saving
Have you considered early retirement incentives. Individuals eligible for retirement are usually at a higher pay rate due to longevity on the job. By giving a monetary incentive for individuals eligible to retire to retire now, you will decrease the departments’ payroll expense and either be able to hire at a lower cost to fill the position, thus helping the New Mexico economy or not fill the position thus saving the salary dollars for the University. This may offset the need for a mandatory furlough program.
Please see answer to similar posted question on April 24, 2009
April 24, 2009
Can you comment about early retirement buyouts as a cost saving measure? I have heard that there have been discussions about this subject as it relates to tenured faculty but no mention of non-tenured faculty or staff. If this rumor is true, it seems that it should be made available to all faculty and staff, depending on the specific guidelines, in order for it to be more effective.
Due to the anti-donation clause of the NM constitution, if a retirement incentive program is implemented it would be limited to tenured faculty and clinician educators. According to University Counsel, the anti-donation clause forbids payments without receiving something of value in return. The rationale is that tenure (or contractual requirements for further employment) is a commodity that has value. Therefore, UNM can "purchase" a faculty member's tenure back. Since non-tenured faculty (with the exception of clinician educators) and staff do not have a contractual requirement for further employment to sell back, UNM cannot include them if a retirement incentive program is offered.
April 14, 2009
Is it true that there is going to be another rec center built that will cost the University approximately $57 million? Also, are students going to be paying for this in an increase of student fees? If these numbers are wrong, what is the real estimated cost of the new rec center and by how much will it increase student fees?
A new student recreation center is currently under consideration. This facility will differ from Johnson Center because it will be open to use only by students.
Much of the cost for the new center will depend on what students want to have in the facility. The architects are separating the costs into pieces that can be included or excluded from the building, depending on student requests. So far the recreation center will include an expanded fitness area, an indoor leisure pool with an outdoor beach area, a three-story climbing wall, a rooftop terrace, a multipurpose room, an indoor running track, rooms for pilates and yoga, and two retail areas for coffee or a snack bar.
The preliminary estimate for these requirements was approaching $50 million, which would be paid for by a bond that would then be repaid from an increase in student fees. The amount of the increase is still unknown, but the university is looking at alternative ways to pay for the project.
March 24, 2009
Is it true that UNM staff will be asked to take a mandatory furlough in July?
No. Beginning in July 2009, UNM will institute a purely voluntary furlough program in which all employees will be eligible (but under no obligation whatsoever) to participate. Those employees wishing to do so may take voluntary unpaid leave or a comparable reduction in compensation. Furloughs would be agreed upon by the immediate supervisor and approved by the respective EVPs. Human Resources will prepare guidelines for the voluntary furlough program, including answers to frequently asked questions.
March 23, 2009
I heard a rumor from main campus that UNM would start cutting back on people's annual leave time so that you don't accumulate as much time as we do now, to help with the budget cut backs. I'm pretty sure it's not true, but wanted to pass it on so you could squash it. The less rumors the better.
HR has verified that this rumor is not true.
March 11, 2009
An administrative source informs several of the graduate students that the University hired a person to be in charge of (part-time "Director of...") tail gate activities associated with athletic events in the past several years. While such a person may not be employed now, was there such a position within the last three fall semesters? Who was employed? Who authorized and made the hire? Who did that person report to? What were the dates the position was filled? Has the position been terminated, and if so, when?
The rumor is that such a person did exist and was paid $40,000.
After checking with Human Resources and the Athletics Department, and based on the information provided, we have been unable to find such a position as the one you have described, current or past. Tail gates are initiated by the groups that are hosting them (UNM or private) through the Athletics sales office, which books the event and tickets as well as assists those groups in tent rentals and catering.
March 3, 2009
Is it true that departments are looking at 10% budget cuts for the fiscal year beginning in July.
Departments are being asked to develop impact scenarios for 5%, 8% and 10% budget reductions to be submitted to the budget office by March 6. No determination of percentage reductions to any budget will be made until after the Governor's signature of the state budget and the Regent's approval of the UNM budget following the University's budget summit.
February 24, 2009
Is it true that HSC staff will be asked to take a mandatory one-week furlough?
No mandatory furloughs have been made due to the prudent fiscal measure taken by the University in late 2008. All UNM staff and faculty have the ability to take a voluntary furlough if they choose in FY2010 in order to help the University.