Fort Hays State University > About FHSU > Executive Division > Bulletin 12 11 09
Dec. 11, 2009
During my update on our economic situation during the University Open Forum on Dec. 1, I mentioned that our success in getting through these difficult times was thanks in large measure to the extra work and innovative ideas of faculty and staff. I also mentioned that the administration does not have all the answers. I appreciate the suggestions and questions that you continue to post on the university's budget Web site. Here are responses to your questions that have been posted since the last time I provided answers in a Budget Bulletin. Q. Cutting of air-conditioning during the summer was understandable. What I don't understand is why heating has not been cut during the cooler weather. The thermometer I keep in my office has not gone below 76 degrees since the summer except for when I have had the window in my office open for extended periods on cool days. A. We received several similar questions about winter thermostat settings. Thermostat controls do not work the same in the summer and winter. Buildings are cooled within all the offices but heated only on the perimeter. The thermostats in exterior offices are being set at 70 this winter, which is lower than the target of 72 degrees last winter. Interior offices tend to get warmer over the course of the day. Also, because of the way the systems operate, the savings produced by lowering thermostats in the winter are not as great as the savings produced by raising thermostats in the summer. Since the cold weather began, we have discovered some defective thermostats. If you believe a thermostat may be malfunctioning or if you have other concerns relating to the heating system, please contact the Physical Plant. Q. Dr. Hammond, if we change hours and thermostat temperatures next summer, and I hope we do, I would like to suggest that offices close at 5, even though most staff will remain until 5:30. This would offer a bit of time to catch up at the end of the day, or for people like me (hopefully) we could perhaps use up some of our vacation time. A. The hours for next summer have already been set so that people can plan ahead, and once again they will be from 7 to 5:30. We will evaluate at the end of the 2010 summer term, and your suggestion can be considered then. Q. Stop all the travel of the mid-level administration. Assistant provosts on down don't need to go to HA. Calif. Florida to do their jobs. A. We gave individual budget managers the flexibility to make cuts in their own budgets in ways they believed would be most effective. They are responsible for deciding how they will operate within those reduced budgets. Q. It seems logical for us to use the services of Document Resources -- saving money on the purchase of shredders for each department, saving the time of manually doing the shredding, and eliminating worry about someone accessing sensitive information. I'm told that they also recycle the shreds and that is a positive step as well. A. That idea was explored, but we already have shredders so it actually would just add the cost of the new service. Q. Could we have the light switches in the Laundromat in Wooster Place replaced with timer switches? There are times those lights are on 24 hours a day. A. We are upgrading to automatic switches across the entire campus, but it is a gradual process. Q. I've noticed that our office has some office supplies that we seem to accumulate a lot of and other supplies that we are always in need of (paperclips, hanging files, etc). I know of other offices that have extra supplies of what we need. Can there be a location on campus that we could send our surplus items that other departments can use so we are not ordering more? The Mail Room is a location that we all go to each day. Could a shelf be put in that room to bring our extra supplies? A. This is another good suggestion, but we do not believe it is necessary to gather surplus items in one location. We encourage everyone to do what is already happening on a regular basis, which is to offer surplus materials to other offices and departments through Lotus Notes. This accomplishes the same purpose without having to temporarily move items to a central location and then moving them again to their final destination. Q. Do all the lights need to be on during the week at Gross when there are no events? A. The staff at Gross report that they do their best to keep the lights off as much as possible. They are on for maintenance or when recruits are brought in to see the facility. The staff do not turn all the lights on to do their work. Q. Twice a month, the state of Kansas spends a lot on postage to mail pay stubs to employees whose checks are directly deposited into bank accounts. Perhaps employees with direct deposit can have pay stubs e-mailed to them. This would save quite a lot of postage. A few years ago, the state of Washington implemented this policy, which saved them a bundle on postage. Is this something we can consider in Kansas? A. This is a decision for state government, and although it would not save any money for FHSU, we will forward your suggestion to the Department of Administration. Q. You all have done a wonderful job of fixing the situation of finances very well. I am impressed that it is being done with no loss of jobs and a small increase in a few fees. Wow, way to go FHSU! One of the reasons this school continues to grow is its low tuition and low cost to students. Keep it up! A. Thank you. And as I stated at the recent University Open Forum, none of this would have happened without the ideas and efforts of the entire FHSU family. Q. What about adopting an early retirement program? Some universities do this to save money by providing an incentive for older staff to leave, and they are replaced by younger, lower salaried staff. A. You are correct about the potential for savings, but unfortunately we have concluded that the savings would be negated by the cost of incentives for early retirement and by the cost of the searches to find replacements. Q. President Hammond has spoken a lot about growing through this period of financial hardship. In this spirit, has there been any thought to add an MA in higher education administration as an online degree? Looking at the universities that offer this degree online, I think there is a niche that FHSU could fill without adding much, if any, staff. Also, it might serve to attract young unclassified staff to the university who also have an interest in obtaining this MA. A. That is a good suggestion. Both the department and the college are committed to revitalizing the higher education administration degree, but with faculty shouldering an additional workload due to the economic downturn, the effort cannot proceed until new resources become available.
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