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Workforce Transition Act Updata

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 26 - March 30, 1995

(Editor's note: The following information is provided by Ann Spencer, associate vice president for personnel and administrative services.)

As you begin to receive applications from employees for participation in the Workforce Transition Act (WTA), I want to provide you with the most recent information and interpretations we have received on the program. As I noted in my letter earlier this week, at that time we had been advised that only faculty positions were covered under the restructuring provisions of the act and therefore may be retained by the university. Minnis Ridenour has now received agreement from the state Department of Planning and Budget (DPB) that institutions of higher education may submit justifications to retain all positions--classified and faculty--under our approved restructuring plans. We must be able to justify the position as a part of our restructuring efforts. DPB will allow us to retain the dollars associated with the positions, but will review the position allocations individually.

I am providing to you the following information which will hopefully assist you in your understanding of the WTA and the earlier governor's incentive program, the approval/denial process for applications, and the timetable under which we are operating. Please note in the material below (under TIMETABLE, March 31 deadline) there are additional questions we need answered by the employee's department and submitted with each application. I apologize that this was not included on the form sent out, but we were not aware of DPB's request for this information at the time our packet was prepared.

COMPARISON OF GOVERNOR'S

INCENTIVE PROGRAM (GIP)

AND THE WTA

* Both intended to reduce employment levels

* GIP: no clear statement on loss of positions

* WTA: opportunity to justify retention of ALL positions under restructuring,

* no assurances on retaining positions, but agreement that we may keep dollars. Also, DPB has stated consideration of retention of positions where we propose to either consolidate or downgrade essential replacement positions to save money.

* Both plans require the agency to cover the costs of the severance benefit (and retirement benefit under WTA)

* GIP: costs incurred in current fiscal year

* WTA: costs paid over next 12 months (note that IF position is filled before all these costs are paid out, the department will have to also cover the salary cost for the replacement)

* Both plans guarantee classified employees who apply but are not accepted that they will not be laid off for the remainder of 1995.

* Employees who have previously applied under the GIP may now apply under the WTA, and are required to submit the WTA form. Participation can only be in one of these programs.

* Both plans contain a May 1 separation date, but an alternate date may be requested and must be approved by the State Department of Personnel and Training.

APPROVAL/DENIAL PROCESS

AND JUSTIFICATION

The denial of an application requires a justification which is program-related. It cannot be position-related (i.e., concern over the loss of the position, and should not state this), but must address the impact on the program or services. Any application for which denial is recommended by the department and dean/VP will require the concurrence of the secretary of education and DPB. The criteria for approval/denial of applications as stated in the WTA procedures are as follows:

* Whether applicant's continued service would or would not be necessary to the effective and efficient discharge of the function of the agency.

* Whether functions of the position held by the applicant could be carried out by other personnel in the agency (i.e., is this a single or unique position in the university).

* Whether functions of the position held by the applicant could be carried out more efficiently by contracting for services with an entity in the private sector.

TIMETABLE

MARCH 31: deadline for all applications (approved and denied) to be received in Personnel Services. Included with the application and approval form already provided, the following information is needed to respond to information DPB is requiring. Please answer the following questions on a separate sheet and attach it to each application:

1. Assuming the position is eliminated, what action(s) will you take regarding the responsibilities performed by this position (e.g., eliminate the function, assign function to other employees, reorganize, etc.)?

2. What is your estimate of the net cost savings for FY96 (after the severance liability has been paid), and the annual cost savings thereafter, that will result from this separation? (Include personal services and nonpersonal services costs, and general/non-general fund shares if position is split funded.)

APRIL 5: Virginia Tech submits all applications and detailed information regarding organizational structure and filled and vacant positions to DPB.

APRIL 13: DPB notifies agencies of decisions on accepting/rejecting employees' applications.

APRIL 17: employees are notified.

MAY 5: DPB provides agencies with position and dollar reductions.

MAY 15: Under governor's executive order, the combined effects of the hiring freeze, employee attrition, and workforce reductions under the voluntary separation programs are analyzed by DPB and DPT to determine if sufficient progress has been made in reducing the workforce, with recommendations to the governor regarding future layoffs. As we continue to receive additional information and clarification, we will share this with you. I also appreciate your understanding of any other personnel matters which may be outstanding in our office to which we are not able to respond as timely as we would like.