California’s broke and the boys in Sac (as it seems to be) sure as f*ck ain’t got our back. But Chancellor Birgeneau may have a plan.

Yesterday the Chancellor reassuringly declared that big universities don’t cry; they reassess their operational spending. Starting soon, “Operational Excellence,” a collaborative effort between in-house and private consultants, will examine Berkeley’s costs with the hope of arriving at a plan for greater financial independence from state piggy banks in the long term. Oh, and don’t call it privatizing. Details below:

The effort will begin in early October and continue through March. It will be overseen by Birgy himself along with several hundred faculty members, staff, students and alumni. At the heart of it all, a private consulting firm that has done similar work for other elite universities will lead the pursuit.

Basically, they’re looking to see where the money’s at, what it’s doing there, and whether it can be put instead where the professors are.

In his letter, Birgeneau addresses concerns about the prospect of outside consultants wielding a surgeon’s razor over UC Berkeley’s proverbial cardio-vascular system. He notes the need for an objective approach and cites the role of campus members to provide check and balance.

Periodic progress reports will be posted here. God speed, Birgy, from the Clog!

Image Source: taylorkoa22 under Creative Commons.
Chancellor announces Operational Excellence effort [News Center]

Milan Moravec said:
Nov 27, 2009 at 5:26 pm

$3 Million Reckless Spending by UCB Chancellor Birgeneau
UC President Yudof has a UCB Chancellor that should do the high paidwork he is paid for instead of hiring an East Coast consulting firm to fulfill his responsibilities for $3 million.. ‘World class’ smart executives like Chancellor Birgeneau need to do the analysis, hard work and make the difficult decisions of their executive job!

Where do consulting firms like Bain ($3,000,000 consultants) get their recommendations?
From interviewing the senior management that hired them and will be approving their monthly consultant fees and expense reports. Remember the nationally known auditing firm who said the right things and submitted recommendations that senior management wanted to hear and fooled government oversight agencies and the public? Consultants never bite the hand that feeds them
Mr. Birgeneau’s executive officer performance management responsibilities include “inspiring innovation and leading change.” This involves “defining outcomes, energizing others at all levels and ensuring continuing commitment.” Instead of demonstrating his leadership capacity by fulfill his executive accountabilities, Mr. Birgeneau outsourced them. Doesn’t he engage University of California and University of California Berkeley (UCB) people at all levels to help examine the budget and recommend the necessary $150 million trims? Hasn’t he talked to Cornell and the University of North Carolina – which also hired Bain — about best practices and recommendations that might apply to UCB cuts?
No wonder the faculty and staff are angry and suspicious. Three million dollars is a high price for Californians to pay when a knowledgeable ‘world-class’ Chancellor is not doing his job.
Save $3,000,000 for teaching our students and request that the UC President motivate Birgeneau to fulfill his executive work accountabilities!