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University of California's finance panel approves furlough plan

The University of California Regents Committee on Finance just approved a budget reduction plan that will furlough UC employees at levels equal to a four to ten percent salary reduction.

The goal of the furlough plan is to save $181.4 million in salary expenditures between Sept. 1, 2009 and Sept. 1, 2010.

The university is trying to offset an anticipated $813 million reduction in support from the state general fund.

About 860 UC Merced employees would be hurt by the cuts, according to a staffing snapshot from last November. Student workers are not subject to the cut.

Employees will be subject to 11 to 26 unpaid days next year, with higher paid employees taking larger cuts.

Chancellor Steve Kang addressed members of the Regents finance and compensation committees before the vote.

“We only have three academic buildings. The UC Merced operation has been very bare bones,” Kang said. “It has been like trying to build a house in a hurricane.”

Kang said the furlough plan would mean that many offices on the Merced campus that have only one employee will have to close down several days during the year. He added that student services like housing and security would also be “severely hampered.”

A 9.3 percent increase in student fees that has already been passed will produce an additional $211 million to cover one-fourth of the shortfall.

The full Board of Regents is expected to approve the committee’s plan on Thursday.

Reporter Danielle Gaines can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dgaines@mercedsun-star.com.

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