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Staff commission updated on Workforce Transition Act

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 29 - April 20, 1995

The university received applications from 294 employees under the Workforce Transition Act and approved 241 for the voluntary separation program. Ann Spencer, associate vice president for personnel and administrative services, told the Commission on Classified Staff Affairs at its April 12 meeting.

The few commission members in attendance heard Spencer's report but could take no action on any business because it lacked a quorum.

Spencer said that 238 classified staff members and 56 administrative and professional faculty members, consisting mostly of Extension agents, applied for the buyout. Fifty-three applications were not approved by the university because the employees provide essential services to the university, she said.

John Ashby asked what might happen if the state were to take a substantial portion of the 53 applications disapproved by Virginia Tech and approve them.

"I can't answer that," Spencer responded. She said the university anticipated the state's response to the application on April 14. When commission members expressed concern about the effect of losing 241 employees, Spencer said the university is going to have to prioritize its programs and services. "We will be talking about what is most important to Virginia Tech. It is going to be painful, but it's something we have to do."

Spencer also said the university "will be getting information on the involuntary portion of the (Workforce Transition) Act and the new layoff policy later this week." She said that involuntary severance will cost the university the same as voluntary severance.

Under other business, Wyatt Sasser, president of the Staff Senate, urged the classified staff to attend President Torgersen's talk which was scheduled for April 19. Sasser said he had cleared the invitation to the staff with the president of Faculty Senate, which arranged the meeting, and with the President's Office. "It's an opportunity for us to ask questions," Sasser said, adding, "The concerns the faculty have are the same as ours. We're all in it together."

Fred Phillips, commission chair, presented a resolution on establishing a policy for classified staff members who teach courses. Without a quorum and needing to present the policy to University Council at that body's next meeting, Phillips said he would take a vote via electronic mail.

The commission will meet again on May 10.