by Matthew Michael
As universities nationwide continue to seek budgetary savings by cutting administrative costs, the State University of North Carolina (SUNC) is trimming bureaucratic fat by appointing twelve new “Efficiency Czars.”
SUNC, the largest university in North Carolina, boasts the most complicated organizational chart in the southeast United States, according to newly appointed Czar for Streamlining of Human Resources Jim Brescia.
“We have a policy that prohibits administrators from supervising more than three people at a time,” explained Brescia. “If an office or an academic department grows to four or more, someone has to be promoted to a supervisory position.”
Brescia describes the “four-or-more rule”—also called “FoMo=Promo”—as an innovative leadership development program, but admits it has created a very tall bureaucracy.
“Our organizational chart is currently 70 layers deep, which is why I’m recommending we trim down to something the legislature will view as more reasonable, like 65 or 66,” Brescia offered. “Unless the legislature continues to provide 40 percent of our funding SUNC won’t stay afloat.”
Sally Feinberg, Czar for Streamlining of Policies and Procedures, admitted her role has overlapped somewhat with Brescia’s Czarship over Human Resources, particularly when she decided to retire the FoMo=Promo rule because the policy was not serving its purpose of developing everyone into a leader.
“We have some employees who have been at the university for over thirty years without having been promoted under the rule,” Feinberg said. “I’m thinking of Jack in the accounting office for the department of student services in the Division of Humanities. On East Campus.”
Jack was surprised when reached for comment but happily explained that the student services department has a $1,500 budget. “And I keep track of every cent of it,” Jack said. “Full time.”
Added Jack, “Our $1,500 budget has been in place since I got here in 1980. Back then, there were three of us managing the accounting – $1,500 was a lot of money at the time. The two other guys had their positions eliminated in the ‘89 budget cuts and I’ve been here ever since; unpromotable in my office of one.”
Feinberg lamented that she is not sure what to do with Jack or the hundreds like him who are stuck on the bottom rung of the organizational ladder. “We’ll have three meetings about Jack’s case specifically in the coming weeks, before making a recommendation about his position to our boss.”
The boss Feinberg referenced is Susan White, Vice President over the Efficiency Czars Program. White explained that she intends to take the Czars’ recommendation on Jack into consideration before sending her decision to a committee she is appointing to review all her streamlining decisions before they take effect.
White added further, “Once the committee has my tentative decision it should only be three months or so before we can notify Jack of how his position will change under the streamlining plan.”