A little while back Chancellor Birgeneau informed us of the soon-to-be-launched “Operational Excellence Project“—hiring a private consulting firm (for a cool 3 mil) to help UC Berkeley run its business more efficiently, a move that was itself the object of some controversy. Well, the consultants did their homework and the results are in. Verdict: We’re a bunch of F*CKING AMATEURS (in so many words). Their findings and suggestions below:

Bain & Company found Berkeley’s biggest bloat to be an unnecessary amount of managerial jobs. For perspective, our human resources department has a manger:employee ration of 1:63, compared to an average of 1:127 in other universities. There are redundant people.

Next, Berkeley apparently purchases contracts for supplies and things on a department by department basis. If they consolidated these purchases into university-wide contracts, they would get better discounts.

Bain & Co. saw three student services as particularly bad business: Undergraduate advising, graduate student housing and child care. According to a recent survey, most undergrads find advising marginally helpful, if not downright bad. Here’s a quote from one respondent: “I never trust what I am being told.” And yet, Berkeley spends $17 million per year on this service.

As far as grad student housing goes, “95 percent rent their own apartment anyway.” Bain & Co. asks, is it really worth it to be involved in graduate housing at all? Our expenditure of $5 million per year on child care was also deemed questionable.

Cutting bloat in these (and a few other) areas, the consultants believe, could save Berkeley $75 million per year.

Pending Chancellor Birgeneau’s signature, a team will draft a plan to trim the aforementioned bloat over the course of three years. Of course, those who are lower on the bureaucratic totem pole tend to see the problem not as residing in middle management and student services, but an overabundance of executives.

For a super comprehensive look at the findings, check out The Daily Cal’s full article!

Image Source: dogwatcher under Creative Commons
UC Berkeley bloated, wasteful, consultants say [Chron]
How to Save $75 Million [Daily Cal]

Transparency said:
Aug 4, 2010 at 9:41 pm

The UC Berkley budget gap has grown to $150 million, and still the Chancellor is spending money that isn’t there on $3,000,000 consultants. His reasons range from the need for impartiality to requiring the consultants “thinking, expertise, and new knowledge”.
Does this mean that the faculty and senior management of the UCB world-class research & teaching institution lack the knowledge, integrity, impartiality, innovation, and professionalism to come up with solutions? Have they been fudging their research for years? The consultants will glean their recommendations from faculty interviews & the senior management that hired them; yet $ 150 million of inefficiencies and solutions could be found internally if the Chancellor and his Vice -Chancellors were doing the work of their jobs.
The victims of this folly are Faculty and Students. $ 3 million consultant fees would be far better spent on students & faculty.
There can be only one conclusion as to why creative savings & solutions have not been forthcoming from faculty & staff: Chancellor Birgeneau has lost credibility & the trust of the faculty & the Cal Academic Senate leadership. Even if the faculty agrees with the consultants’ recommendations – disagreeing might put their jobs in jeopardy – the underlying problem of lost credibility and trust will remain.
Contact your representatives in California Senate, California Assembly: tell them of the self serving $3 million being spent on consultants by University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau.

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