The University of Texas system will lay off about 3,800 employees at its University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, according to a statement from the system. Representing nearly one-third of UTMBs workforce, the job cuts are a direct result of the severe damage caused by Hurricane Ike in mid-September.
Detailed financial analysis shows that UTMBs current rate of expenditures, including the continuation of wages and benefits for faculty and staff who have not returned to work, exceeds revenues by almost $40 million per month, according to the statement. UTMB will deplete its financial resources and reserves in approximately three months, leaving the institution in the untenable position of having no funds to continue to operate.
The statement also said the Board of Regents cannot use permanent university funds, available university funds, or funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fund operating expenses or the payment of wages and benefits.
On Oct. 14, Texas Gov. Rick Perry held a meeting with legislators and University of Texas representatives to discuss the effects of the storm on UTMB and its staff. At the time, neither the governors office nor the University of Texas confirmed that the system was planning to cut nearly 4,000 jobs, even though that figure had been mentioned in a local newspaper story. In its Nov. 12 statement, the system said steps should be taken to mitigate the impact of the reduction in force, such as priority hiring of qualified employees at other UT institutions, assistance in placing employees at other healthcare institutions, and exploring opportunities for retirement incentive packages.
Employees will be informed about the layoffs in the coming weeks, but they will remain on the payroll until mid-January, a spokesman said in an e-mail message.
Established in 1876, the University of Texas has six hospitals and nine academic institutions. -- by Jessica Zigmond