April 2: Operational Expedentures and Staffing Operations
Dear Merrimack Faculty and Staff,
One of the great characteristics of the Merrimack community is our ability to come together in times of difficulty and work together to advance our mission, take advantage of opportunity and overcome hardship. As we collectively address this unprecedented health and economic crisis, we have seen such communal support in our faculty, staff, students and parents. It is undoubtedly for this reason, we have further distinguished ourselves as an institution, and transitioned so successfully to remote learning and working.
As President Hopey has stated in his various town halls, the great success of the institution is how we come together to support each other. Ensuring people are safe and practicing social distancing is based on our belief that the health of our community is paramount. In that same vein, part of our overall effort of support is to do what we need to as a community to minimize the impact this crisis has on our employees’ jobs and benefits.
As we continue down this collective path to support each other as colleagues I would like to make you aware of several adjustments being made in regard to the college’s finances so as to prepare ourselves for the potential impacts of what is now a prolonged crisis. As the unprecedented crisis advances, the financial impacts on students and their families, on business partners, and on banks and their liquidity all impact the College in a multitude of ways.
In terms of institution finances, President Hopey has been clear about our goal: we want to stop operational expenditures and prioritize our employees, specifically salaries and benefits. To best position the institution to maintain that priority through the summer, the College leadership has agreed to stop all operating expenditures that are not enabling remote teaching, ensuring the safety of the few students, faculty, staff who remain on campus; growing our enrollments (including new academic programs at the graduate and undergraduate level), or federally grant-funded projects. In doing so, we hope to extend the resources of the institution so as to ensure we are able to maintain payroll through the summer.
With this goal in mind, it is of the utmost importance that we all see this effort as critical, and something our entire community should engage. Based on our success to date, I am confident that we will do so here as well.
The following guidance relates to staffing operations and other non-salary expenditures. These policies have been vetted by the leadership of the institution and shared widely by President Hopey at town halls for staff and faculty.
Effective immediately, the College is suspending all previous budget and spending policies and is stopping all operating expenditures. Outlined below you will find the current policies for all budget and spending purposes moving forward.
In order to fully understand the impact that these temporary policies have on your department and to assist in the decision-making process related to prioritizing approving expenditures, the Dean and/or Vice President have been discussing this necessary approach and the impacts it has on our immediate remote learning, safety, and enrollment goals with colleagues in their respective areas.
All suspension of spending or any requests for continued spending, that follows the guidelines below, must be reviewed by your Dean or Vice President, and then myself or President Hopey.
The health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students are of utmost importance to our community, and this effort is part of that effort. Please do your part in helping us collectively be successful. I thank you for your cooperation.
Jeff Doggett, Ed.D.
Executive Vice President, CFO, COO
1. Hiring Freeze – Effective now, there is a hiring freeze, as well as a freeze on promotions and staff changes. There are to be no personnel changes at this time.
- As a result, there is to be no hiring of any open position, nor should there be any posting of any positions without the approval of the President Hopey or Executive Vice President Doggett.
- Any open position which is driving a new academic program and is actively in the interview process at this time may continue to proceed with interviewing. No offer of any kind will be authorized without the approval of the President Hopey.
- Decisions about delaying the tenure clock, tenure promotions etc., will be addressed through the faculty senate shared governance processes.
2. All part-time staff (i.e. McQuade Library and Sakowich Campus Center overnight staff) should remain available to continue in their roles remotely. The institution will continue to pay those staff members for hours worked remotely. No schedules should be adjusted at this time.
3. Under our remote work strategy, all timesheets must be completed and submitted electronically to payroll under the same schedule we have used throughout the year. There will be no overtime permitted in this period. Timesheets may be found on MyMack under Payroll Services.
4. As a reminder, if you are an employee who is ill or you are experiencing a hardship causing you to be unable to complete your duties while working remotely, please notify Human Resources and the Task Force.
5. The College has suspended all college-sponsored international and domestic travel until further notice. This prohibition extends to all faculty, staff and students. If you have already scheduled a trip during this period it should be canceled. All efforts to seek reimbursement should be made. If you need assistance, please contact the Purchasing Department.
Expenditures (Other than salary)
1. All departmental budgets (academic and administrative) are frozen effective immediately and there are no expenditures allowed.
2. Any previously planned, scheduled or contractual spending must be brought forward to the appropriate Dean or Vice President. Those expenses that enable remote teaching; ensure the safety of the few students, faculty, and staff who remain on campus; and enrollments will be reviewed by the Dean or Vice President and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial and Operating Officer or President. All previously planned, scheduled or contractual spending are no longer authorized.
3. To ensure compliance the following is in effect:
- There are to be no Purchase Orders (POs), use of Petty Cash, institutional Procurement Cards, Travel and Entertainment Cards, or any personal credit cards for any expenditure without prior approval from your Vice President or Dean.
- All Procurement Cards, and Travel and Entertainment Cards are shut off with the exception of senior leadership.
- All faculty development grants and SCURCA grants are frozen for the remainder of the crisis. Decisions about extending internal grant funds into next year are being reviewed along with the probability of rewarding new grants for next academic year.
- All unpaid Purchase Orders and Invoices, and all Procurement Cards, Travel and Entertainment Cards expenses are being held. All invoices must be forwarded to Accounts Payable immediately.
- All endowment and restricted funds (R-Fund) payments are being frozen, except for full-time employee salaries. No spending on R-Funds is allowed without the approval of the Executive Vice President/Chief Financial and Operating Officer or the President.
- All previously approved spending should be reviewed with your Dean or Vice President. All efforts to stop those expenses previously approved but no longer necessary, should be made.
- The College is only approving those expenses that follow the policy outlined above.
4. The institution is prioritizing the payment of payroll, employee benefits, debt service and previously approved reimbursements to employees.