Community Responses to Cost Savings

Dozens of employees took the time to submit cost savings suggestions using the link on the Finance & Administration web site.  The suggestions offered fell into three broad categories: how to increase efficiency or reduce spending; possible approaches to administrative reorganization; and wage and benefit concessions employees might make to avert the need for layoffs.

We are extremely grateful for all submissions. Whenever possible, the suggestions were forwarded to the manager responsible; others are being evaluated in terms of cost savings. Those that have promise will be brought to the University Resources Committee (faculty, staff and students) this fall for review and support.  The suggestions that relate to salaries, benefits, percentage time worked, and/or early retirement are being brought to the Human Resources Advisory Board (faculty and staff) for review and input. Finally, suggestions relating to functions being changed have been referred to the Organizational Review Committee (ORC) and will be part of the functional evaluations that will be ongoing during the fall semester. 

Increase Efficiency/Reduce SPENDING

  • Review of Brown First policy
  • Limit staff travel to essential business
  • Increase utilization of teleconferencing technology instead of traveling to conferences
  • Increase computer purchasing cycle to 5 years
  • Review telecommunications device usage
  • Turn down the heat and air conditioning in most buildings
  • Install motion sensor lighting wherever possible
  • Curtail use of food and bottled water at meetings
  • Cut back on mass mailings; better utilize online communications
  • Make CAB (Course Announcement Bulletin) available online
  • Automate accounts payable, labor distributions, streamline IPRs, etc.
  • Decrease custodial desk side services
  • Discontinue telephone directory

Many thoughtful suggestions were offered. The University has implemented some (monthly account statements will no longer be printed and mailed, the Brown Directory will no longer be printed, food has been significantly reduced at meetings and pitchers of water are now offered for meetings). Most of the other suggestions are being evaluated for impact and will be brought to the University Resources Committee this fall for review and support as part of the FY11 budget.

Administrative Reorganization

  • Identify areas of duplication and overlap across departments
  • Review early retirement incentives

These suggestions, among others, will be reviewed by the Human Resources Advisory Board this fall in the context of our competitive position and the health, financial security, and safety of our community.

Employee Concessions

  • Allow staff to take voluntary furlough days or unpaid time off as well as FTE reductions
  • Reduce and/or suspend the University’s retirement contribution
  • End the health insurance buyout program
  • Cut back on the RIPTA program 
  • Eliminate the Holiday Bazaar
  • Review TAP program

Some of these suggestions will be referred to the Human Resources Advisory Board. However, most will be part of the Organizational Review Committee’s scope this fall. Under the guidance of the ORC, a number of committees will be convened in September to explore various options for administrative reorganization. It is important to note that voluntary furloughs reflect a single effort in cost savings and will not create the yearly fiscal reductions necessary to address ongoing budget targets.