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Testimony before the Joint Committee on Finance Regarding the 2007-09 State Budget by David Walsh, President, UW System Board of Regents (Mar 22, 2007)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 22, 2007

Contact: David F. Giroux
dgiroux@uwsa.edu
(608) 575-6973

Testimony before the Joint Committee on Finance Regarding the 2007-09 State Budget

David Walsh

President, University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents

Related:

March 22, 2007

First, let me recognize the tremendous task you have in your important role on this committee.  Setting fiscal priorities for Wisconsin in an era of belt-tightening is a difficult task.

Part of your role is to ensure the money you do provide to our public university is well-spent – that we are being accountable to the taxpayers who provide those funds.

I’m here to tell you that the UW System is responsive and accountable to your constituents. We share your interest in accountability and transparency. 

We are changing the ways we do business, so that we can more efficiently and more effectively produce the knowledge-economy workers that are vital to Wisconsin’s future.

Working with President Reilly and the System Administration, the Board of Regents has taken significant action.  Let me quickly reflect on some of those reforms.

We are continuing to reform our personnel policies and practices

  • We have changed the way we govern limited, and concurrent appointments.

  • We definitively ended the practice of offering “back-up” appointments in July 2005 – nearly two years ago.

  • We have established a yearly internal review of all UW System “limited” appointments to make sure we review this issue, over and over.

  • We reformed the practice of using “consultant” titles, so that titles reflect the timeline of our needs, and the roles that employees play.

  • We have reformed the way we govern sabbaticals, implementing a clear policy so that all participating faculty members understand fully their obligations.

  • Based on recommendations provided by the Legislative Audit Bureau, we are reforming our sick-leave and vacation reporting systems.

  • We now require the President’s direct approval of all settlements involving the termination of a UW System employee with a limited appointment.

We reformed our procedures for dismissal of Faculty and Academic Staff

  • We have reformed the disciplinary process, providing for a new, expedited process for cases involving serious criminal activity by any university employee. Such matters arise very, very rarely among our faculty and staff, but when they do, we want to bring them to an appropriate, fair and just conclusion more quickly.

  • We now require criminal background checks for all new hires by UW System.  Not some -- all. We did this prior to the LAB audit.

  • Our changes are consistent with recommendations made by the Legislative Audit Bureau, and, in some cases, go beyond those recommendations.

Conclusion

I think you’ll agree that the long list of actions I just described reflects a sincere commitment by this university to openness and responsiveness.

We come before your committee today to make sure we reflect a system that you are proud of.  One that is accountable to the citizens they serve, and the taxpayers who fund it.  

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