Six people in the Department of Safety and Risk Services have been laid off following an audit performed earlier this year.
The University’s ongoing Safety and Risk Services (SRS) audit has led to six safety positions being cut from the department because the audit required UNM to have more departmental fiscal responsibility.
The “Safety and Risk Services Audit of Operations and Compliance,” an audit begun by the University in 2011, called for a complete staff evaluation in the department, which is in charge of ensuring UNM facilities meet safety standards.
SRS Interim Director Carla Domenici said the recent layoffs in the SRS department were part of the audit’s goal to balance its budget.
“During the course of the year, we started really reviewing positions and that everybody was really working in their area, that they were really engaged and to make sure there wasn’t a duplication of effort,” Domenici said. “Because there is a lot to do in the area of safety but you want to make sure you have the right people in the right place and the right positions — those positions were (unnecessary) and that was the reason for those layoffs.”
Domenici said the University created a committee to evaluate each position within the department in terms of its importance to furthering the department’s goals. The committee then chose which positions to cut accordingly.
The department’s layoffs occurred between March and August of this year.
Domenici said the layoffs within the department won’t hurt the safety and security of faculty, staff and students.
“A layoff, when you really look at it, you have to look at it really carefully,” she said. “You don’t make these decisions overnight. At SRS we have a management team — with every decision, we talk about small things, but with something of this magnitude, we really looked to see whether we should do this and how we should do this and how it would affect UNM.”
Domenici said that while the number of employees in the department has decreased, the SRS has strengthened its approach to campus safety. Despite the audit, she said the department is focusing on monthly laboratory safety inspections, along with an effort to educate all students about laboratory safety.
“I can tell you that we are safer today than we have been in a while,” she said. “We’re involving faculty and we’re involving students, and what we’re looking at is making training available online for everyone.”