WE WILL KEEP WORKING. No furloughs at Northern Illinois University.

Though furloughs do not appear to be a possibility this semester, the future remains cloudy, [university president John] Peters said.

“I don’t contemplate it for this fiscal year. Will we need it in the future? I don’t know. I don’t think so. I don’t think it gets you what you need,” he said. “Next year it could be something to consider.”

The ultimate factor in whether NIU must turn to furloughs — or even more drastic measures — depends on the state’s ability to pay its bills, Peters said.

“If the state gives us payments, we’ll be OK,” he said. “The best thing that can happen is for the state to fulfill its obligations.”

The governor's state of the state address, today, offered little reassurance.


Kerry said...

This is kind of an issue near and dear to my heart; speaking as someone who just jumped off of the sinking USS Furlough into a life raft.

Why did my former place of employment resort to five days of furloughs in 2010? To be fair, it's a large combination of factors. But one of the main shortfalls was in state funding. I had assumed that the state would cut funding...but by that much? Yikes. It kind of feels like a failure on my part; furloughs are terrible for morale. But in a recession, it's all about choices...ugly choices. Increased taxes for the masses? Decreased contributions to employee healthcare? Selling land and capital to raise revenue? Using undesignated reserves to cover operating costs (hugely detrimental impact on the bond rating)?

I'll certainly cross my fingers and hope that NIU is prepared even if the state doesn't come through.

Stephen Karlson said...

Believe me, we know about ugly choices. We've also had a lot of practice at making do with very little. Some of the economies, however, will prove costly long-term. Several staircases are partly closed because the treads are not safe, or because of pipe defects in the ceiling above the treads.

Kerry said...

Partly closed staircases? Sheesh. Statements like that make me realize the alternate reality I'm working in.

Here, nobody even felt the need to slow hiring, decrease annual raises, or slightly tweak the PC replacement / obsolescence plan when the economy went south.

That's all great...but very strange to me.

Stephen Karlson said...

Recessions have uneven effects, and an upscale university in a government town is likely to be relatively free from rude shocks.

We're still looking for that money to fix the theater building, which continues to crumble, and we still don't have Cole's vending machines, or the shelter it offers during the winter.