Dear Western Faculty & Staff,
I’m sure most of you saw Governor Jay Inslee’s directive issued to state agencies on Wednesday that cancels the general wage increase for exempt state employees scheduled to take effect July 1 to deal with an $8.8 billion revenue shortfall through fiscal year 2023. In addition to canceling pay raises for some state agency employees, starting on June 28, more than 40,000 state agency employees will be required to take one furlough day per week through July 25. After July, state agency employees will be required to take one furlough day per month at least through November. Union-represented and non-represented classified state agency employees will still get the general wage increase.
The Governor’s directive does not automatically apply to Western employees. The Governor has urged other agencies not under his authority – including Western and other higher education institutions – to adopt similar measures, and you probably know that many of our state’s colleges and universities have already started implementing some layoffs and furloughs.
We have established a budget process that began several weeks ago with the formation of a budget working group and a consultation group that commits us to meet this budget challenge within a framework of shared governance and budget transparency. That process included approval of a 2020-2021 continuation operating budget by Western’s Board of Trustees that will remain in effect pending approval of a final operating budget for the year at their next regular meeting in October.
We take the Governor’s directive seriously and want to do our part to support the recovery from the economic impacts of the state’s coronavirus response. Over the next week we will review the Governor’s directives in more detail and within the context of our approach and values, including President Randhawa’s commitment to protect employment security for Western’s employees over the long run. We expect to provide more information and insight at the end of next week.
As we enter FY21 on July 1, we will continue the purchasing, travel and hiring restrictions announced in April, and we urge each budget decision-maker to forward only those requests that are critical. In addition, work will continue across divisions on further budget reductions to take effect in October. More detail on FY21 budget planning, including the process, principles, and scenarios, is posted on the Budget and Financial Planning website.
There will be many difficult, but necessary, decisions to address the financial shortfall that the state and the university are facing. To the extent that we can shoulder these burdens together, we will come through this crisis stronger and more unified in our goal of securing a healthy future for Western Washington University and the students it serves.
Rich Van Den Hul
Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs
Budget related questions:
Please visit the Budget and Financial Planning website or email Faye Gallant, Executive Director of Budget and Financial Planning, at Faye.Gallant@wwu.edu.
HR related questions:
Each division should contact their HR consultant:
Academic Affairs: Gretchen.Lucas@wwu.edu, (360) 650-2513
Business and Financial Affairs / University Relations and Marketing: Kelsie.Swanson@wwu.edu, (360) 650-4065
Enrollment and Student Services / University Advancement: Megan.Galley@wwu.edu, (360) 650-2615
President’s Office: Lea.Aune@wwu.edu, (360) 650-7763