With Connecticut state government unlikely to have a budget passed by July 1 – the beginning of the new fiscal year – the Board of Trustees voted on June 23 to pass temporary spending plans for the University, its regional campuses, and the Health Center.
Spending will continue at current levels until the legislature and governor agree on a budget and the University knows what its state appropriation will be for fiscal year 2010. The state appropriation makes up about one-third of the University’s overall budget. The temporary budget for next year is $938.3 million for the Storrs and regional campuses and $755.9 million for the Health Center.
“We continue to have obligations to students, faculty, and staff and this will allow the University to continue to operate until the state has a budget,” said Richard Gray, vice president and chief financial officer. “While nothing is certain, I assume this is going to be a short-term problem, and I’m hopeful that we will have a budget in the near future.”
Most of the state’s portion of the UConn budget funds salaries, and Gray added that UConn’s savings from the state’s Retirement Incentive Program remains unknown.
Gray noted that the governor has ultimate budgetary authority and that the temporary spending plan does not infringe on that.
“This is very much a stop-gap measure,” he said.
The June 23 meeting was the final one for outgoing Board of Trustees chairman Dr. John W. Rowe, who has held the position for six years.
“This has been a wonderful personal and professional experience for me,” said Rowe. He expressed appreciation to his colleagues and the university community, as well as to Govs. Rowland and Rell, who appointed and reappointed him.
Rowe is a professor of health policy and management at Columbia University and former chairman and chief executive officer of Aetna, one of the nation’s leading health care organizations. Before joining Aetna, he served as president and chief executive officer of Mount Sinai-New York University Medical Center and Health System in New York City.
Board member Thomas D. Ritter, a former Speaker of the state House of Representatives and 1977 graduate of the UConn School of Law, will serve as interim chairman until the governor appoints a permanent replacement.
Ritter, a partner in the law firm of Brown Rudnick in Hartford, has been on the board for six years and leads the Buildings, Grounds, and Environment Committee. He championed the transformative UConn 2000 construction program in the General Assembly, and received a University Medal in 1999 and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2001.