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Archive Notes - February 2010


Welcome back to campus. I sincerely hope
that the winter break afforded everyone a chance to rejuvenate so that,
as a campus, we can meet the challenges ahead creatively and
effectively. I want to take this opportunity to outline the timetable
that we will follow and some of the guidelines which we are using as we
work on the budget for next year.

The State budget will not be
formalized until action is taken by the legislature, hopefully in early
April. As things currently stand, based upon the Governor?s budget
request and Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act
proposal, we believe that the revenue targets established in the budget
blueprint created in December continue to be accurate. At the same
time, we know that things can change and change dramatically. We could
end up with less money or with more, and we want to be able to respond
to either possibility agilely. The Cabinet is working to put together
contingency plans for these eventualities. At present, we are focusing
on where we might allocate funds if we find ourselves in a better
financial situation than we have anticipated. The Cabinet has outlined
broad areas which are particularly critical. These include, but are not
limited to, adjunct instruction, Admissions and Financial Aid, services
to employees, advancement, and development.

As we finalize the
2010-11 budget, the Cabinet will also begin to look at the Bicentennial
Plan as a template for the future growth of the College. If the
economic crisis has reached its low point and if the Governor?s Public
Higher Education Empowerment and Improvement Act passes, we can hope for
greater stability in our budgets and more options for securing
resources. Beyond that, we need to envision the College of the future,
and this vision is embodied in the Bicentennial Plan. In order to avoid
the problems of the past, we cannot rebuild the College by simply
restoring funds to the budgets that have been cut. We must allocate
funds in an intentional and visionary manner to help develop the College
we aspire to be, not simply the College we were. With every financial
decision we must answer the question, ?Will this assist us in reaching
our long-term goals?? With this in mind, the Cabinet will develop a
long-term spending plan that looks to the future and will implement a
system whereby we can allocate whatever funds might become available to
achieve our goals. I will communicate this to the campus later in the
spring when we have a better idea of our 2010-11 budget.

In order
to help us deal with the difficult financial situation in which we find
ourselves, and in order to begin to create a new environment in which
the SUNY system and SUNY Potsdam can flourish, I ask you to contact our
Assembly Representative and State Senator to urge passage of the
Governor?s Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act. The
tuition provision of the proposal can go a long way toward providing us
with a modicum of fiscal stability that could allow us to more easily
project our revenue from year to year. The administrative reforms can
also help to position us to better accomplish some of the things
outlined in the Bicentennial Plan. In short, it is important to our
long-term success for the Legislature to pass the reforms outlined in
the Governor?s proposal.

We are doing all that we can to maintain
the high standard of education our students deserve and to preserve as
many jobs as we can. While collective bargaining agreements and SUNY
personnel rules limit the amount of information that I can share with
the campus at large, I deeply appreciate the difficult position in which
some of our employees find themselves, uncertain about their employment
in the next academic year. In a few weeks, I will send out another
communication in which I will outline, in a bit more detail, some of our
local financial decisions. I will send more frequent and more focused
messages as we move through the spring semester in an effort to keep our
community as informed as I can.