Creating the eight-member Budget Development Council is the latest step in the university’s attempts to develop a more strategically based and transparent budget planning process.
“As a part of the university’s Strategic Plan, we want to move YSU from a rather non-strategic budget planning process to one that focuses on allocations based on strategic direction and the rewarding of good performance,” said Gene Grilli, vice president for Administration and Finance.
The new Council is an outgrowth of a task force formed a year ago to evaluate YSU’s current budget model and to explore several other models commonly used at other universities and colleges. The task force issued its recommendations last summer, and President Cynthia E. Anderson’s Executive Cabinet agreed in the fall to move forward with a modified initiative-based budgeting model.
YSU currently utilizes an incremental budget model, which allocates funding to each university entity – college, department and office – based on the amount that was allocated the previous year, with incremental amounts added or subtracted depending on total funds available for that particular year.
Under the modified initiative-based model, the Budget Development Council will annually reallocate a portion of the university’s budget to university entities that are strategic and project greater revenues for the university based on current performance data and sound business plans, said Paul Kobulnicky, Grilli’s executive assistant. Funds for the reallocation would come from a small “tax” on all existing budgets, he said. Included in the model are the development of fiscal year carry-over of unexpended funds and the inclusion of all salaries and fringe benefit budgets and expenditures in appropriate responsibility center budget lines, he said.
The Council will submit a recommended budget to the Executive Cabinet, which will in turn present the final budget recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Trustees must have a budget in place by July 1.
Kobulnicky said the Council is made up of managers from various segments of the university who are known to have excellent financial skills and who, in several cases, have some working experience under various budget allocation models.
Council members are Ana Bobby, interim co-director of Maag Library; Charles Howell, dean of the Beeghly College of Education; Elaine Jacobs, associate athletic director; Debra LaRocco, manager of Employee Benefits; Gary Sexton, director of WYSU; Ken Schindler, associate vice president and chief technology officer; Ray Shaffer, chair and professor of Accounting and Finance; and Marilyn Ward, assistant to the provost, Academic Budget. The Council is assisted by Kobulnicky and Neal McNally, budget director.
The Council expects to meet with groups throughout campus in January and February to review its plan of work, to listen to concerns and to answer procedural questions.