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Dilemma of layoffs at Santa Anita State University Essay

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Updated: Mar 30th, 2019

The Office of Philanthropy (OOP) at Santa Anita State University is the one in charge of spearheading mobilization of financial resources for the institution. Santa Anita State University is located in California (University Of Washington 2).Two levels of workers are hired at Santa Anita-hourly employees and salaried employees.

Salaried workers are categorized in levels ranging from A–G that determines lowest and highest yearly wages. The Office of Philanthropy (OOP) has four units. One of the units of the Office is The Office of Marketing and its major responsibility is to establish internal marketing strategies that send steady information to a wide range of people who seek the services of the university.

The marketing unit has a team of four workers-the director and three account managers in senior positions. The director is the only man, new out of the employees, while the rest of the employees had all been recruited in the last four years. Out of the three senior accountants, Darlene Stewart is 60 years old and had been an employee for the university for nearly two decades.

Sandra Johnson is 28 years old and joined the team from a different unit of the university, and finally Teri Roberts a fresh college graduate who was employed the previous season of hiring. The last two young ladies are said to bring a range of new ideas, expertise, and re-energize the existing group.

Previously, the team had a coordinator who worked with the three senior account managers, but he exit the institution a month later. All the three accountants perform the same roles for Santa Anita State University’s schools and colleges. Before the coordinator quit; he helped the accountants with their duties. With his exit the position had not been filled (University Of Washington 2).

The Santa Anita State University is faced with two main issues. Firstly, there is the issue of dwindling financial crisis because of economic crisis that has hit California state funding program for higher institutions of learning. Secondly, there is a dilemma in reducing the labor force to cut costs on the operations of the university in its layoff program.

The main actors in this dilemma include the VP of the Marketing Unit, Human resources Unit, and Director of special communications team and Darlene Stewart. In December, because of the credit crunch, higher institutions of learning in California experienced serious deficits in their administration budgets (University of Washington 1).

This prompted the Californian state authorities to reduce money allocated for universities thus, causing a ripple effect, that saw universities also reducing their expenditure on salaries for their employees. Santa Anita State University was not an exception. As aforementioned, The Office of Philanthropy (OOP) was charged with the mandate of raising financial resources for the university.

The office’s main sponsorship depended on the performance of the university’s bequest, which relied on the performance of the stock market. Due to the credit crunch, the bequest did not perform as expected and therefore, the OOP had to slash its budgetary allocations on its operations. The Vice President of the University opted to reduce the allocations for each and every department by 20 percent for the next financial year (University of Washington 2).

The Office of Marketing being one of the units was not spared too in the budget cuts. The last strategy of reducing costs was to layoff some of the employees. The main aim was to remain with only those employees who not only would help in raising funds to support the forecasted decline in the endowments the institution depended on, but also retain employees regarded as ‘essential.

This strategy targeted Darlene Stewart- 60 years old and who had been one of the longest serving employee for the university for nearly two decades. Because of the effects of the budget reductions, the Office of Marketing’s Special Communications team did not have adequate work to keep the three senior most accountants fully occupied.

After an in-depth analysis of the senior account managers’ abilities, Darlene Stewart, the institution’s oldest and long serving loyal worker was picked for the unit’s retrenchment plan. A synergy of her pay level and her past record of work left the team with Ms. Stewart as the perfect employee to be laid off (University Of Washington 4).

She was blamed on low productivity and low qualification but taking a greater portion of the unit’s payout share, owing to her pay grade level. The OOMSC team believed that with the retrenchment of an employee in senior position, would not only help to save on payout but it will also pave way for the team to recruit another employee to take up an open position, but with a lower pay level.

As a result of a discussion with Human Resources, the VP of Marketing discovered this course of action (retrenching a more experienced worker and then recruit another but occupy a lower position) would plunge the institution in a lawsuit. The position could have been well occupied by Ms. Stewart but she it was presumed she would not be comfortable with.

The director had in mind that with exit of Ms. Stewart, the two accountants would comfortably perform her duties and responsibilities, her no so much significant work together with the extra work done by the two accountants. This was true, owing to less workload in the department because of the prevailing conditions.

In short, according to the Director, recruiting someone to fill the open position of special communications coordinator was considered a bold step. The main hurdle was convincing Stewart to take up a low cadre job.

Therefore, a meeting was to be arranged between the management and Darlene to brief her of the plans to lay her off (University of Washington 4). Fortunately, the culprit of the layoff plan agreed to renegade to a lower position. The consultations between the two units were paramount in unearthing any potential risks of the layoff.

The Director of the Special Communications also played an important role in conveying timely information to avert the looming danger of Ms. Stewart intention to sue the university of on grounds of age discrimination in case it went ahead with plans to retrench her.

This course of events prompted the unit’s earlier decision of putting an advert in the media to recruit a lower position before according Stewart an opportunity of choosing to be considered for the post. Although the course of action taken, saved the university the wrath of a lawsuit, the decision angered Stewart and affected the working relationship. The relations at work can only be defined as that of animosity and hostility (University of Washington 3).

In summary, this case of ‘Dilemma of layoffs at Santa Anita State University’ illustrates how economic crises can have far reaching consequences on the operations of institutions. The economic downturn has plunged Santa Anita State University in a dilemma of retrenchment.

The move was triggered by reduced funding from the California state on higher institutions of learning. The crisis has seen the university especially The Office of Marketing is got between a rock and hard place- layoff off an employee and at the same time hire (University of Washington 4).

The lessons learned in this case study is that budget cuts can impair operations of institutions and right communications can help avert any crisis. Finally, cordial relations among employees can help to increase productivity.

Works Cited

University of Washington. A report on Layoffs in the pubic sector prepared by Evans School of Public Affairs. The Electronic Hallway: 2011.

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