University of Arizona President Robert N. Shelton sent out an e-mail to all faculty and staff this morning letting them know that furloughs will not be necessary this year at UA. In the spring, the idea of furloughs had been floated, with employees told they would need to plan for them beginning in September. Furloughs are unpaid time off, which translates, essentially, to a pay cut. Here’s the e-mail, which is no doubt really good news to a community that had been stretched to the limit with bad news all last year:
I write to inform you that employee furloughs will not be necessary this year.In the spring, when we were preparing for the current fiscal year, it was unclear whether the state would accept federal stimulus funding. In anticipation of further budget cuts for the FY10 year, furloughs became a necessary component of efforts to balance our budget. We notified all faculty and staff at the time to plan on furloughs but not to schedule any until at least September. This strategy allowed us time to determine the exact impact of the state cuts and the level of any federal aid that we would receive.The furloughs would have provided an opportunity for temporary budget savings this year. The federal stimulus funding that has been allocated to the UA, coming through the Governor’s Office as State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, are also temporary, one-time funds. While critically important to our budget for this year (and I cannot overstate how grateful we are to President Obama for initiating the program and Governor Brewer for securing the funds), they do not resolve the more fundamental, long-term issues that result from the state appropriation reductions. They do, however, make it possible to eliminate the furloughs that had been planned for this year.We are very appreciative of the efforts of Governor Brewer to secure the federal funding, and are pleased that we can relieve faculty and staff of the hardship that would have resulted if the furloughs had been implemented.