Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Waste at UNC

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hired a consulting firm to find out where they could cut money in their budget. And guess what they found?
UNC-Chapel Hill has too many supervisors, bloated administrative costs and a bureaucracy that hamstrings everything from assigning courses to classrooms to purchasing supplies, a consultant has concluded.

.... The report found that the campus, with an annual operating budget of about $2 billion, spends more on administrative costs than it does on academics, a balance Thorp said he'd like to flip-flop.

The administrative costs likely grew over the last decade or so in large part for two reasons: the university's success in attracting private research funding -- which brings with it staffing demands -- and the construction boom fueled by the 2000 higher education bond program. UNC-CH has spent about $500 million on new buildings and renovations to existing facilities since 2000, a massive infrastructure expansion that brought with it new administrative costs as well, Thorp said.
Surprise, surprise. And when they look deeper into the administrative waste, they find layers upon layers of bureaucracy.
SUPERVISION: UNC-CH is 10 layers deep in some areas, meaning that a worker has nine people above him on the organizational ladder. And more than half of campus supervisors oversee three or fewer workers. UNC-CH should eliminate some supervisors and give more control to those who continue in those roles, the report said. Fewer management layers would lead to fewer meetings and less duplication, and could save up to $12 million annually, it said.
There are more findings like this in the report. Wouldn't you like to bet that every level of government could find similar waste in how many levels of bureaucracy they have? In fact, it shouldn't have taken a private consulting company to come in and find out what was wrong. That's why Americans never believe politicians when they say that they have cut spending to the bone. Whenever legislators talk about hard spending cuts, they always talk about cutting what people really care about - teachers in the classroom or firemen. From my little experience with the bureaucracy of our local school district, I never saw anything worthwhile coming out of the district bureaucracy that made the job easier at the classroom level. I shudder to think what the consulting firm would find at waste and bloat at the school district level. But instead we'll hear about all the classroom teachers whose positions will have to be cut.