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State calls for hiring freeze, UO to participate over 7% funding

As you may already know, this week Governor Kitzhaber called for a hiring freeze for all state agencies, suspending all but “essential hiring” without really clarifying what that means. He also requested that such agencies stop enrolling employees in a variety of state programs, from the Oregon Health Plan to state-sponsored senior and child care. Supposedly, the freeze is in response to a tax revenue shortfall, as the state attempts to verify if the money to run all these programs even exists. (Though, as UO Matters has noted, that didn’t stop the governor’s office from posting a new job opening the day after calling for the freeze.)

If there’s one thing that the Lariviere debacle has taught us, it is that the 7% of the UO’s funding that the state pitches in entitles it to full control over the university’s business dealings. According to the Register-Guard, the UO, along with the rest of Oregon’s public universities, will go along with the hiring freeze–despite the fact that the governor’s office has said exactly nothing about how it should affect the university system. From the Register-Guard article:

UO spokesman Phil Weiler said the university had not received any official notice or direction from the university system on Wednesday but expected to get that after Pernsteiner’s meeting with university presidents today. He said the UO would abide by whatever directions are issued.

Di Saunders, spokeswoman for the always credible OUS, noted that, “We feel it’s very, very important to follow the governor’s mandate with the hiring freeze.”

For what reason, it seems, even the Register-Guard can’t hash out:

“The UO, with its growing student population, has been a strong jobs generator for Lane County throughout the recession, often showing hundreds of job openings on its website. Shutting down that growth could hurt employment opportunities locally…Another issue that some universities wrestle with is the fact that state revenue only provides a small slice of the overall budget. Some on the UO campus believe it’s unfair for the state to exercise such broad control over UO spending, given such a small investment.

So, let me see if I have this straight. In order to account for a drop in tax revenue that compromises the state budget, the governor has called for a public hiring freeze. To make sure that the University of Oregon doesn’t spend that 7% of its funding that the state gives it, it is being told to comply with the hiring freeze. This compliance will be at the expense of the local employment rate, which could cause a further decrease in tax revenue.

Uh. Okay then.

  1. Ben says:

    Its even worse than that as letting the UO spend tuition money (which is otherwise sitting in a bank or fund or whatever) on new hires or raises actually increases funding for the rest of the state. For every 100,000 spent on raises or new hires (supposing they are all paid for by tuition) generates 6,000-10,000 in state income taxes. Not to mention other multiplier effects. So really, the governor should be celebrating the raises last year and any new hires paid for by tuition. This should be the headline. UO spends 5,000,000 on salary increases, saving the jobs of 10 police officers plus the multiplier effects on the rest of the economy. By not letting the UO spend tuition dollars, its the same thing as taking checks from Californian tourists but waiting until the economy improves to cash them. Lets cash the checks now when we the need the money the most.

  2. Sophie says:

    I’ve always thought blog could use more Jackie Chan. OC, Original Chan.

  3. Ashley says:

    I know I really should stop putting funny pictures with my serious articles, but that face so perfectly sums up my opinion on the matter.

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