- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - Hiring private contractors to do non-academic work, such as landscaping, is among the ideas that should be considered as the University of Wyoming scours its budget for places to cut expenses, officials said.

“A lot of institutions contract out certain services or functions of a university that aren’t core to the academic mission,” Michael Pishko, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, said Tuesday. “A university’s core mission is teaching, research and service to the state. It’s not our job to do plumbing. It’s not our job to do landscaping.”

Pishko came to UW from Texas A&M; University, where third-party services are regularly used, he said.

“An audit found the university could save $15 million a year by using private contractors for things such as janitorial services, landscaping and lawn service, painting, and basic carpentry, and that’s what they ended up doing,” Pishko said. “It’s not a guaranteed savings. There are pluses and minuses.”

UW President Laurie Nichols said the idea will be analyzed once other, more pressing matters have been dealt with, the Laramie Boomerang reported (https://bit.ly/2a4MV23).

“We haven’t quite gotten to that yet, but we will,” Nichols said.

Hundreds of faculty and staff attended a town hall meeting Tuesday that Nichols called to provide information about the budget cuts that have occurred and are planned for in the future.

Nichols said about $13.5 million or $14 million of a targeted $19 million in reductions to UW’s budget this year has been identified through holding and eliminating vacant positions, offering early retirement and severance incentives and making changes to part-time employee working hours.

Nichols declared a financial crisis in June after the state slashed its financial aid to the university because of a downturn in the minerals extraction industry.

Nichols has formed a special committee to examine future budget cuts and identify possible new revenue sources.


Information from: Laramie Boomerang, https://www.laramieboomerang.com

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