UMass president's office relocating employees to Shrewsbury

Scott O'Connell

In reaction to Gov. Deval Patrick's recent budget cuts, University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson said he will move part of his Boston office to a university building in Shrewsbury.

A still undetermined but "significant" number of the 86 employees working in the president's downtown office will relocate to the UMass Collaborative Services Facility at 333 South St., said Libby DeVecchi, a spokeswoman for Wilson. The move will help cut expenses by shrinking the office's total square footage of commercial space in Boston from 32,000 to 8,000.

The governor's plan, which calls for a billion dollars worth of budget cuts around the state, will reduce UMass's state appropriation by 5 percent, which amounts to $24.6 million.

In addition to the proposed relocation, a UMass press statement Wednesday said the university would weather the cuts by reducing the workforce in the president's office and further consolidating some services and facilities.

DeVecchi did not say yesterday if or how many office positions would be terminated.

"Every option for savings is on the table," she said. "We're analyzing that now."

In the statement Wilson, who lives in Westborough, said the budget cut would not lead to a mid-year fee increase or cutback in financial aid for UMass students.

DeVecchi said officials had not determined specifically how much money would be saved in the relocation to Shrewsbury.

"We expect the savings will be substantial," she said. "What we're doing is reducing the footprint" in Boston.

The Collaborative Services Building currently houses some of the university's central services, technology department and medical school employees. Many employees at the facility already perform some services for the president's office, DeVecchi said, and university officials believe "there is space there" for the transplanted work force.

Besides changes to the president's office, DeVecchi said the university is still examining ways it will account for the governor's budget cut.

The administration's decision to cut funding to UMass presents "significant challenges" to the university, Wilson said.

"The chancellors and I understand that this action is necessary and agree that we can manage this reduction, but it will not be easy," he said.

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