Daily Egyptian

Layoffs expected at EIU

By Bill Grimes, Effingham Daily News

The 1,750 or so employees of Eastern Illinois University are holding their collective breath in the face of expected staff layoffs.

University spokeswoman Vicki Shaw Woodard said there is no question that there will be some layoffs. But Woodard said no particulars were being announced Monday, though she added that she may have more information Tuesday.

Woodard said new EIU President David Glassman directed the college’s four vice-presidents to develop cost-cutting plans in each area under their supervision. Those four vice-presidents are Blair Loyd, academic affairs; Dan Nadler, student affairs; Bob Martin, university advancement; and Paul McCann, interim for business affairs.

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A list of those being laid off was forwarded to the university’s human resources department last week and supervisors were expected to notify those employees beginning Monday.

Woodard said the mood has been anxious among the university’s approximately 1,750 employees.

“People are concerned, of course,” she said. “It’s a very personal issue for some of our employees.”

Eastern has been no stranger to budget cuts in the past few years. Total projected expenditures have dropped from about $203 million in Fiscal Year 2013 to about $188 million during the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Of course, the budget for this fiscal year has not been set as a result of the overall state budget impasse. Woodard said resolution of that impasse could lead to additional budget cuts. Woodard said the fact that many university employees have union representation also affects the process.

“We have to keep it under the contracts they are working under,” she said.

Woodard admitted the process was complicated.

“It’s not as cut and dry as one might think,” she said.

State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, said the General Assembly has passed a number of budget-related items in recent weeks.

“I think we’re almost done,” he said. “Schools (K-12) are paid for, state personnel are taken care of and the governor continues to negotiate.”

McCarter said he expects the Senate to pass a bill Wednesday that will enable the state to release federal pass-through dollars administrered by the state.

“We’re committed to spend the $32 billion we had to spend,” the senator said. “The question is what can be done about the deficit [of about $4 billion].

“Are we going to restructure pensions and workmen’s compensation as the governor has suggested to save money for the future, or are we going to commit more money to new programs?” he asked.

McCarter said Gov. Bruce Rauner has compromised quite a bit during the process. Now, he said, it is time for Democrats to do the same.

“It’s time for the Democrats to step to the plate and agree to some reforms that will keep businesses from leaving the state,” he said.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at [email protected] or on Twitter @EDNBGrimes.

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