As we continue to follow Mason's response to the COVID-19 crisis, we want to provide insight to the additional guidance on Hiring and Procurement practices recently shared. These guidelines are part of our continued effort to be vigilant financial stewards and to help employees telework effectively.
People are Mason’s most important resource and we will continue to move forward with critical hiring needs. However, a new process is being instituted to ensure that resources are deployed as efficiently and effectively as possible.
- All hires will be reviewed by the newly-instituted Critical Vacancy Review Committee, consisting of members of Human Resources; Strategic Budget & Planning; Office of the Provost; and Compliance, Diversity & Ethics offices.
- Administrative/professional faculty, student and non-student wage staff, and classified staff hires require a Critical Vacancy Request Form to be submitted to the committee. Their review will be completed within five (5) business days, followed by appropriate senior leadership review. Approved requests for classified, student wage and non-student wage hires will also be sent to the Commonwealth Secretary of Education for exception approval, consistent with the State’s hiring freeze. We expect State review will be completed in approximately two (2) business days. Units will be notified upon position approval or denial.
- Instructional/research faculty positions must submit a Critical Vacancy Request Form to the committee for informational purposes, which will be forwarded to the Provost for final approval.
A similar review process is being developed for any actions that would result in increased personnel costs including promotions, in-band or stipend adjustments, voluntary transfers, bonuses and all other adjustments in compensation.
Mason is also developing a workforce survey that will be sent to managers and supervisors to determine how effectively employees are teleworking, understand needs or difficulties, provide guidance on redeployment, identify development opportunities, understand technology usage and needs, and give further guidance on leave usage. Timely completion of the survey by supervisors and managers will help leadership provide additional training, tools, and guidance for our employees.
We are requesting that all university faculty and staff slow spending, defer costs, and eliminate, reduce or delay non-critical expenses for the remainder of FY2020 and into FY2021. The shift in our work and our work environment will also create opportunities to adjust our spending, based on revised needs. Additional guidance is available on the Fiscal Services Site.
Questions to Ask Prior to Any Purchase
- Can this purchase be eliminated or temporarily suspended?
- Are all aspects of the purchase essential at this time, or are components ancillary to the core purchase, and potentially not necessary?
- Can the estimated quantity or frequency of the purchase be reduced or deferred to a later date?
- Is there already a negotiated contract that can be used? Exceptions to standardized contracts will be flagged for additional review.
- Is this item available in surplus located at Central Receiving or available elsewhere in the university?
The Office of Strategic Budgeting & Planning will soon be providing a template with specific instructions on how to identify and plan for cost savings, budget reductions and deferrals, and critical investments for your FY2021 budget.