Tuesday, March 23, 2010
* Proposed org charts outline changes
While the Legislature struggles with a final budget solution, Shoreline Community College continues working toward a package of budget reductions and organizational changes that officials hope will end up in the neighborhood of Olympia’s plan.
“We have a target number we think is close,” SCC President Lee Lambert of the $1.65 million reduction plan announced March 12. “As we keep taking cuts like this, $5.5 million over the past five years, we have to adjust the college to these new realities.”
The $1.65 million reduction plan includes proposed changes to the college organizational chart. Lambert said now is the time to look closely at those proposed changes as well as potential alternatives before the college moves ahead.
“College Council recommended adding some time to the process, and I agree,” Lambert said. “We need time to talk about how we implement these cuts. That they need to be made isn’t the point because, at the end of the day, we must get to whatever number the Legislature sets for us. This is painful work, but we can do it in a thoughtful and deliberative way.”
Draft organizational charts reflecting the changes proposed by the vice presidents are online available for review, Lambert said. Meetings are scheduled to present the changes, including, a joint meeting of the Strategic Planning and Budget committees is scheduled for March 31 and an April 2 all-campus meeting. Other meetings will be announced as they are scheduled.
Comments, concerns and suggestions can be made through existing division/department communication channels. In addition, comments will be continue to be collected through the red suggestion boxes distributed around campus and an anonymous e-mail box. One change to that process is that comments won’t be posted online (See related story).
“We can gather thoughts and input through April 30,” Lambert said. “Then, the vice presidents will need some time to do their work. We’ll present a final plan at an all-campus meeting on May 21.”
Lambert reiterated earlier comments that while the details of organizational changes are being discussed during this period, the process of making reductions would move ahead. “We can always stop a process if necessary,” Lambert said. “But we need to allow enough time, as outlined in the contracts, to have reductions in place by July 1. If we go past July 1, it just means additional cuts would be needed.”
* Anonymous comments available in print
In response to concerns expressed by members of the campus community .the President’s Senior Executive Team (PSET) recently reviewed the issue of posting on the College Web site the anonymous comments submitted as part of the budgeting process.
It has always been the intent of this administration to foster free and open communication. Through the very difficult financial times of recent years, soliciting ideas and comments from across the campus has been an important component of the budgeting process. While there are many communication opportunities through departments, committees and other official paths, some individuals are uncomfortable voicing views in these venues. In response, for the past two years, an anonymous e-mail account and physical suggestion boxes have been available for those who wish to provide input or otherwise express thoughts and opinions about the budget and the budget process. All of those anonymous comments, submitted by e-mail or paper, were reviewed by PSET as one of the many sources of data used in ongoing budget considerations.
As part of identifying budget considerations, PSET worked within the established governance structure to establish expectations for the budgeting process. One result of that work is a set of guidelines about process transparency. An expectation set out in those guidelines is that all data used in determining the College budget would be shared with the campus. The anonymous comments are part of that data. Other data were also used and shared, including legislative mandates, internal and external costs, contract language and more. In addition, the question of sharing the anonymous comments was reviewed and approved at least twice by College Council, once on Feb. 16, 2010, prior to posting, and again on March 16, 2010, after the posting.
All of the data shared publically, including the anonymous comments, are public records. As a public agency, Shoreline Community College is required by law to disclose public records upon request. However, the College can determine how those records are made available and this is the point of discussion that PSET is reviewing again.
As of March 23 2010, the anonymous comments will be removed from the College Web site. A printed copy will be available at the library circulation desk for review. Printed copies of the comments will also be available for review in the Human Resources office upon written request, following the established public records disclosure process. Copies of the comments will also be made available to representatives of both Faculty and Classified unions, and employees may request to review those documents through their respective union representatives.
Through April 30, the College will continue to accept anonymous comments to provide relevant information for budget and organizational planning. Guiding language recommended by College Council at the March 16 meeting has been added to the online form as well as the suggestion boxes. Moving forward, it is hoped that this communication channel will be used as originally intended, to gather thoughtful input toward the goal of making Shoreline Community College a better place to work and learn.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
* SCC adds time for restructure review
With a $1.65 million reduction already announced, Shoreline Community College officials said Tuesday they’ll lengthen the timeline for the next budget-cutting phase: implementation.
“We have some flexibility,” SCC President Lee Lambert said at the March 16, 2010, meeting of the College Council. The Council and Lambert agreed to add a month to the comment and feedback period for the plan unveiled at a March 12 all-campus meeting. Originally, the idea was to gather feedback until the next all-campus meeting, April 2, but the new target date is April 30.
The extension proposal came from Gary Parks, Council member and faculty union representative. “It’s difficult to parse out a meaningful response (by April 2) with finals, then non-contract days and then week one of Spring Quarter,” Parks told the council. Classified union representative Paul Fernandez supported the request saying, “The classified union doesn’t meet until (April) 7, so this should be postponed.”
Lambert said allowing more time wasn’t a problem, as long as it gets used for review of the restructuring details and not the cuts. Lambert explained that faculty contract language means the reduction-in-force process needs about 60 days. With June 15 as the final contract day, RIF notices would need to start no later than April 15. While only one faculty RIF is planned, Lambert noted that a delay could push the process into Fall Quarter and potentially mean additional cuts.
If a change were needed, “We can always pull back,” Lambert said. “But we need to start on time.”
Classified employees in positions targeted for reduction may have bumping rights, potentially displacing less-senior classified workers, Lambert said. However, Fernandez said there would be “very little of that,” this year. Lambert acknowledged the comment, noting there are four potential layoffs of classified employees.
“I’m not too concerned that we couldn’t get things done by June 30,” Lambert said.
In the end, the Council voted to recommend a package of input-gathering moves, including:
April 2: All-campus meeting with the focus on presenting the restructuring plan as envisioned by the vice presidents.
April 2-30: Review and comment through a variety of venues, including the current committee and governance structure, anonymous comments collected by e-mail and comment box.
May 21: All-campus meeting for final budget and implementation presentation
May 26: Budget presentation to the Board of Trustees
Friday, March 12, 2010
*SCC announces $1.65 million budget-cut plan
SCC faculty member Karen Toreson asks a question during the
all-campus meeting, Friday, March 12, 2010. More photos
Committees: College Council, Budget and Strategic Planning committees will meet with vice presidents and other Senior Executive Team members.
All-campus meeting – Another all-campus meeting is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., Friday, April 2, in the PUB Main Dining room to provide an update on SCC budget plan details and implementation. If needed, further all-campus meetings will be scheduled.
News postings as developments warrant.
The painful process of implementing budget cuts for 2010-11 is underway at Shoreline Community College.
With the state Legislature missing its deadline and a final target uncertain, college officials on Friday, March 12, 2010 announced a plan to cut $1.65 million, falling within the hoped-for range of $1.3 million and $1.8 million.
“Based on the information we have, $1.65 million is our best estimate,” said SCC President Lee Lambert. “However, we think this plan may be able to stretch to about $1.8 million. If Olympia goes beyond that, we’ll have to rethink this.”
In the plan announced at an all-campus meeting, Vice President for Administrative Services Daryl Campbell outlined just where the cuts will be made, including cutting 24 positions. Of those 24, 14 are either currently vacant or are anticipated for retirement. The plan identifies 10 positions in which the current employees would go through the appropriate departure procedure, based on their employment category. Of the 10, four are classified employees, four are administrative exempt and two are faculty.
All of the employees directly affected by the cuts received the news from Lambert in private meetings prior to the all-campus presentation. “I just think it’s my responsibility to do that and employees have a right to hear this very difficult news from me and not in a public setting,” Lambert said.
One of the bigger changes as a result of the cuts comes in the Center for Business and Continuing Education. The director position, two other currently filled positions and two vacant positions will be eliminated. Responsibility for the program will move under the Dean of Workforce Development.
“This is a very difficult move,” Lambert said. CBCE is housed off-campus in the Lake Forest Park Towne Center shopping mall. Lambert said the college will be looking for ways to either better utilize or reduce the cost of that space. “I’ve spoken with Lake Forest Park City officials and we will be in talks with mall ownership,” he said.
Vice President for Academic Affairs John Backes said that over the past three years, CBCE has been a net loss to the college on the order of $600,000 to $800,000. “This is not the fault of the staff, but we can no longer support CBCE as currently structured,” he said. Backes said that the program residing in a small district and a failing economy contributed to the unfortunate status of the center.
Continuing Education is part of the state mandate for community colleges. Moving forward, Backes said SCC will look at alternatives later and will enter talks with Lake Washington Technical College about collaborating to provide continuing education programs across both college districts. Backes said that the collaboration would provide more than double what the current marketing area is. Another possibility is to go after more contract training. Some CBCE staff and programs will remain, including the Business Accelerator, a business training and consulting services program offered in partnership with the City of Shoreline and the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce.
Other organizational changes include moving the Technical Support Services department into Campbell’s area from Academic Affairs. A number of shifts will come within Academic Affairs in an attempt to even the workload on the four deans.
In addition, four director positions will be collapsed into two. In one case in Academic Affairs, Adult Basic Education, English as a Second Language and Workforce duties will all go to one director. In the other instance, Enrollment Services and Financial Aid duties will be rolled into one.
While cuts are always hard, Lambert said the hiring freeze imposed by the Legislature in February made this effort particularly difficult, especially because the trend of budget cutting is expected to continue for at least the next two years, he said.
“The vice presidents spent considerable time trying to craft a plan that would look forward,” Lambert said. “With state revenue predictions, it made sense to make cuts in as strategic a way as possible. The freeze made much of that impossible.”
While the plan announced on March 12 is based on the information available, that information is also subject to change, Lambert said.
For starters, the Legislature missed the March 11 session-end deadline and Gov. Chris Gregoire has called a special session starting Monday, March 15. “We don’t think there will be significant changes to the overall cut for higher education, but until they pass a budget, we just don’t know,” Lambert said.
Then, while implications of staffing reductions have been considered, individual SCC employees may make choices that change how those reductions play out under contractual rights. Also, Lambert has said that any employee directly impacted by the cuts can come to him to offer alternatives or additional information that may adjust the plan.
“We think the plan is the best compromise, but if somebody offers a better idea, or has facts that we just got wrong, of course we’d take that into consideration.” Lambert said.
A number of questions were raised at the all-campus meeting, including why furloughs weren’t used to reduce costs. The Legislature passed a bill allowing furloughs, along with other options, to be used in lieu of layoffs.
“We looked at furloughs,” Vice President for Human Resources and Legal Affairs Stephen Smith said. “The problem is, if we use furloughs and then the Legislature mandates them, it could be a double-whammy.”
Lambert added that he’s very sensitive to options that reduce employees’ salaries. “We have classified employees who could probably qualify for food stamps” Lambert said. “I want to be mindful of that.”
Faculty member and union representative Gary Parks pointed out an apparent discrepancy in the some of the numbers shown during the meeting. In checking later, Campbell found Parks was correct.
“Due to my transcription error, the financial impact on existing faculty positions held is $142,949, not the $226,608 as shown during the meeting,” Campbell said, adding that the slide available by hyperlink is now correct . “Consequently, the financial impact on vacant/retired faculty positions is $387,729, not the $329,472 that was shown.
“However, the overall reduction is the same - $1,648,603.”
Thursday, March 11, 2010
* Phillip Barrett joins SCC Board of Trustees
Phillip Barrett has joined the Shoreline Community College Board of Trustees.
“I’m looking forward to serving,” said Barrett, senior vice president and Chief Technology Officer for RealNetworks Home Entertainment. “Community colleges fulfill a very important role. A particular focus for me will be efforts in educating the workforce.”
A Shoreline resident, Barrett is also vice president, treasurer and secretary of the Barrett Family Foundation, which has been a strong supporter of public schools. He and his wife volunteer at the public school attended by their children.
“The college is fortunate to have his combination of vision, business expertise and community commitment on the Board of Trustees,” said SCC President Lee Lambert. “Higher education is facing new challenges and I look forward to Trustee Barrett’s leadership.”
Barrett joined the five-member board following his appointment Monday, March 8, 2010, by Gov. Chris Gregoire. He is taking over the spot held by Richard Stucky, whose term expired in September. Stucky had continued to serve until an appointment could be made.
“I’ve enjoyed my five-plus years on the board,” said Stucky, a respected community member and former Shoreline School District educator. “I feel I was a contributing member of the board through some difficult times.”
Lambert praised Stucky’s service and support.
“Dick always had the best interests of the students and the college at heart,” Lambert said. “I very much appreciate his leadership and the time and work he gave to the college.”
Barrett attended high school in Honolulu, earned a bachelor’s degree in math from Rutgers University and a master’s in computer science in 1978 from the University of Wisconsin. Before his current position with RealNetworks Home Entertainment, he held positions as senior strategic adviser and senior vice president of consumer products at RealNetworks. He was also development manager/group manager at Microsoft. Barrett worked as an engineer for Intel near Portland, Ore. He also taught classes for Portland Community College that were located at Intel.
Barrett also found time to take a break.
“I joined RealNetworks to run software development and was responsible for RealAudio, the first streaming media server and player,” Barrett said in an online profile. “I was also responsible for the creation of the Real Jukebox product. Later, I ran the Consumer Products group. I took early retirement to spend time with my pre-teen kids.”
Lambert said Barrett’s first Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled to be March 17.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
* Shoreline Community College reaches out to veterans
Mike Gregoire, state VA Director John Lee and SCC President Lee Lambert (from left) after signing an agreement designating Shoreline
as a veterans friendly campus. More photos
Shoreline Community College is now officially “veterans friendly.”
“As a veteran and an Army brat, I understand the difficulty of transitioning from the team-oriented structure of the military to the less structured environment of college,” SCC President Lee Lambert told the audience before the signing. “I couldn’t be prouder of this college and the efforts to make our veterans feel welcome.”
The designation became official with the signing of a memorandum of understanding signed March 4, 2010, at the college’s 2nd Annual Veterans Roundtable. Signing the agreement were SCC President Lee Lambert, state Veterans Affairs Director John Lee and Mike Gregoire, husband of Gov. Chris Gregoire and an advocate for veterans.
“I’m very pleased to see a campus so dedicated to veterans and veterans’ issues,” Gregoire said. A Vietnam veteran, Gregoire said he was fortunate to have an older brother who’d also served there for someone to talk to about the experience.
Also a Vietnam veteran, VA Director Lee noted that the commitment of Shoreline Community College is indicative of the huge shift in public support from the Vietnam era. “I was there in 1968-69,” Lee said, adding that the reception for many returning Vietnam veterans was not supportive. “Now, whether you support the conflict or not, no one is making disparaging remarks about the men and women who are serving.”
Lee said the agreement’s designation represents more than being just friendly to veterans. “The U.S. has the best veteran’s benefits in the world,” Lee said. “They are also the most complicated.”
To help navigate those benefits, Shoreline Community College has a designated adviser, a Certifying Official, necessary for military transcript and record review as well as advising on various GI Bill benefits.
Robert Lemmons said during a panel discussion that finding that dedicated adviser was a pleasant surprise when he arrived at Shoreline to use his benefits. “They are a big help,” Lemmons said.
Panel member Emily Oelnick echoed the feeling.
“I enlisted when I was 18. I went from my mom to the Army,” Oelnick said. “When I got here, I was cut off from the support system I’d had in the Army. I didn’t know anything. The Certifying Official took care of everything, had all my paperwork ready to go.”
The agreement actually makes Shoreline a member of Partners for Veteran Supportive Campuses. As a partner campus, Shoreline will work to:
Increase awareness of veteran’s programs on- and off-campus
Provide staff members with a core set of veteran cultural competencies
Implement best practices and policies designed to foster social support, acceptance, a welcoming environment and a setting that meaningfully acknowledges the contributions of veterans
Encourage veterans to use GI Bill benefits
Help veterans succeed in higher education and training
Ensure staff and veterans have access to services through local, state and federal partners
“We want veterans to know that we are here to help them in any way,” said Kim Thompson, Director of Special Services at Shoreline Community College.