Dr. David Sam. Copyright Robert A. Martin.

Germanna Community College Announces Hiring Freeze

by | Nov 3, 2016 | Schools & Education

By Susan Larson. Photo copyright Robert A. Martin

Germanna Community College (GCC) President Dr. David Sam sent a message to faculty and staff November 3, outlining what the college is doing to prepare for the possible cut to Virginia higher education funding in 2017. At the top of the list is an immediate hiring freeze.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration alerted higher education officials on Tuesday to expect a 7.5 percent reduction in appropriations from the state in the fiscal year that begins July 1, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

GCC Public Information Officer Mike Zitz provided a copy of Dr. Sam’s correspondence, reprinted below.


As you know, we have been asked by the Governor to prepare a plan for a 7.5 percent cut to our appropriation for July 2017. If enacted, this would be the largest cut we have faced in my time at Germanna and will require significant scale back of programs and services. I must emphasize that this is a plan at this point. The Assembly will decide on a revised budget when it meets in early 2017 and only then will we know the real extent of the cuts. But we will plan for the worst.

Another factor exacerbating our situation is the continued decline in enrollment. The good news is that our efforts to improve student success have resulted in increased retention and graduation, which should help our enrollment over the long term. But we must assume further declines next year and prepare for them even as we work hard for that decline to reverse.

Therefore, and effective immediately:

1. There is a hiring freeze on all new and replacement positions except those that are funded by grants and/or local government contributions. Those already approved and in the hiring process may continue although please consider carefully whether you can halt any. I will make a few exceptions to the freeze after due consideration of nature of the position. The freeze is only applicable to regular state funded positions, not those funded via grants.

2. All out-of-state travel is curtailed except for that already approved and paid for. There will be a very few exceptions made for critical college needs such as accreditation. The restriction of travel and food is to capture those unused funds to pay forward for FY18 costs, so we will be reviewing this year’s budget (FY 17) to capture funds previously approved for out of state travel and food.

3. All in-state travel should be reduced when possible but may continue with the following provisos:
a. Carpooling is required when more than one employee is attending.
b. Sharing of hotel rooms is required where possible for overnight trips.
c. The numbers of employees attending should be reduced where possible.

4. All Germanna funded meals and snacks for employee meetings are eliminated with a handful of exceptions. Please plan lunch breaks for long meetings and/or scale back meetings.

Administration has already begun and will continue developing the plan and various alternatives and scenarios. I look forward to your ideas. Some things that seem obvious to cut are not possible:
– Much of the nonpersonnel budget such as utilities cannot be cut due to legal, safety or practical requirements.
– The expanded Stafford Center is being funded by local governmental and private monies totaling $350,000 a year. These monies may not be used for anything else and would go away if not used. No new staff will be hired but existing staff reassigned.
– The new Fredericksburg Center for Advanced Technology is similarly funded by City monies that cannot be used elsewhere. Again, no new staff will be hired unless grant-funded.

I will also hold regular open forums through the year. The first round of forums will be held as follows (tentatively scheduled):
· November 7, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. via Interactive Video between LGC (Room 114), Sealy Auditorium (Room 134), DTC (Room 118); and SSC (Room 101); and
· November 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. via Interactive Video between LGC (Room 114), Sealy Auditorium (Room 134), and DTC (Room 118).

We hope new revenues and enrollment result from the expanded centers and our other efforts, but we will plan for little or no growth to be safe. Should growth occur, new staff can be hired or existing cuts reevaluated during FY 2018. I will update you regularly by email and at College Council meetings and open forums throughout this academic year.

Together we have been through many crises over the last 10 years and I am confident we can more than survive this one. It is very serious, but I know your dedication to our mission as I have seen in action every day. We will do all we can to reduce the harm to our students so we may continue to serve them and our communities.

Thank you for all that you do and for your constant dedication to students no matter the challenges we face together.


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