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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 19, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

News

College suspends employee parking fee plan

Ithaca College has announced that a plan to charge parking fees for staff and faculty has been suspended temporarily.

In an Nov. 14 email to staff and faculty, President Tom Rochon said the parking fee has been suspended for the next 25 months until January 2016.

The parking fee for staff and faculty was among the 39 recommendations made by the Chicago-based Huron Consulting Group, which was hired last year to assess finances and review academic and administrative support at the college. At the All College Meeting on Aug. 22, officials announced they would charge a $2-6 weekly parking fee from employees, beginning in Jan. 2014 or Aug. 2014.Rochon_Color

The suspension of the faculty parking fee comes after the college decided to implement a cost-saving strategic-sourcing plan, a centrally coordinated approach to purchasing goods, such as office and cleaning supplies, and services that are not construction related.

The new strategic-sourcing plan is expected to save at least $3 million per year within the next two years. Rochon said according to strategic-sourcing consultants at Enterprise Solutions Group in Cockeysville, Md., this goal is feasible.

“[Our consultant] said we should comfortably exceed that goal if we do this properly,” Rochon said.

If the strategic-sourcing plan reaches its goal by 2016, Rochon said, the parking fee will be suspended indefinitely. However, if this goal is not met, the college could revisit the parking fee.

“If the goal is not reached, then our overall program of seeking saving in order to reduce the increase in student tuition cost would be threatened, and we would need to go to other measures proposed or recommended by the Huron consultants last year, including the parking fee,” he said.

Rochon said the parking-fee program was suspended because of the attention it received from the campus community. In January, the college’s Faculty Council passed a motion recommending not to charge faculty and staff for parking.

Rochon also said these savings will contribute to the progress of “Under 3 Over 3,” a multi-year plan aimed at keeping the annual cost increase for students at less than 3 percent, while maintaining compensation pools for college employees at 3 percent or more.

Gerald Hector, vice president of finance and administration, said the strategic-sourcing plan will help the college take advantage of discounts from vendors.

“Strategic sourcing primarily is trying to get us partnering with vendors that will allow for us to get better pricing by way of volume discounts, by way of things that we normally could not be able to achieve because we are basically buying right off the market,” he said. “In other words, it allows for us to reduce our price point while not sacrificing quality.”

Hector said he hopes departments will work with the administration and each other to make the strategic-sourcing plan a success.

“It’s really about people embracing the change, [being] willing to work and share what their purchasing habits are and be open and transparent about what their needs are,” he said.

Peter Rothbart, professor of music theory, history and composition and chair of the Faculty Council, said he commends the plan.

“Any time you create a budget, there are balances and priorities that have to be laid,” Rothbart said. “I think this is a novel and interesting way to kill two birds with one stone, though as an owner of parrots, I am opposed to the analogy I have just made.”