Committee to reallocate funds

By Jami Peterson

NIU President John La Tourette has taken the first steps toward battling the budget situation by pulling together faculty and students to reallocate funds.

In his State of the University at Midyear Address, La Tourette said he planned to establish a 4.25 percent salary increment pool between now and the end of the fiscal year.

The Committee on Organization, Productivity and Salaries (OPS) has been established to help La Tourette search for areas where funds can be generated.

“We’re trying to get an organized meeting set up within the next ten days,” La Tourette said.

OPS is made up of 14 faculty members and students, including representatives from the University Resource Advisory Committee (URAC), the Faculty Senate Finance and Facilities Committees, the Student Association, the College of Business and the accountancy department.

As a member of the Supportive Professional Staff, Controller Robert Albanese has been selected to serve on the committee. With feedback from members of his office, he will find ideas for improving productivity and reducing programs to help the budget, he said.

“I think I’m in a good position to review changes that come up and initiate some changes myself,” Albanese said.

SA President Preston Came, also on the committee, said OPS will be “organizing structure and staffing and trying to find money for salary increases in the future.”

Matthew Wetstein, a member of URAC, is on the committee as well. He said the committee will be studying every unit of the university.

“The university needs to decide whether to enhance academics at the expense of athletics,” he said. NIU should think about strengthening some academic departments to attract students, he added.

Doug Moore, chief accountant and member of the operating staff, said he is honored to be selected on the committee and he expects OPS to come up with some good ideas.