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Abdallah didn’t intend to save

A Sept. 4 Albuquerque Journal article entitled Interim Provost Chaouki Abdallah’s efforts to reorganize the Provost’s Office a “cost saving plan” that had “backfired,” but Abdallah said his plans have worked as he expected.

Abdallah sent out a University-wide e-mail Wednesday in hopes of telling his side of the story.

“Bottom line, rather than calling my restructuring ‘a cost-saving plan that backfired,’ this is an on-going restructuring plan and so-far working as diagrammed,” he wrote.

The Journal said Abdallah planned to save the University thousands of dollars when he replaced Vice Provost Wynn Goering with three smaller-salaried administrators. His plan “backfired” when he found out Goering had already signed a contract to keep his position for another year. Abdallah hired the three administrators anyway, adding $120,000 to UNM’s administrative expenses, the Journal reported.

Abdallah said in his e-mail his goal had never been to save money.

“When hired, my overriding mandate was not to save costs but to restructure and better organize to serve the academic mission,” he said.

Abdallah said the University no longer had a need for Goering’s position and the position was eliminated. Goering’s duties were re-assigned to new hires and existing staff in the Provost’s Office.

“However, by the time I assumed responsibilities as Provost, Dr. Goering had already signed his annual employment contract,”
Abdallah said. “At the same time, a need emerged in my discussions with the President for a person to oversee and manage the branch campuses and UNM West. Given Dr. Goering’s extensive administrative experience, including a branch campus leadership role, he met the position criteria very well and was reassigned.”
Abdallah said Goering’s new position is being funded by the Provost’s Office for a period of one year, and if the position is deemed necessary for future years, future funding will be identified by the incoming president.

The three new administrators will be funded through savings from the Dean of Graduate Studies who is stepping down, he said.

“Year two and beyond will be determined based on an analysis of the effectiveness of my restructuring plan,” Abdallah said.

“Assuming that I am still the Provost next year, I may, in fact, bring on one or two more faculty members to help lead the academic mission.”

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