A planned merger among Kansas University’s custodial and maintenance staffs for the university and its housing departments is scheduled to take place on July 1, but the university will be filling several reorganized supervisory positions before the staffs combine.
Barry Swanson, KU’s associate vice provost for operations, said many of the new positions will be open only to existing housing or university facilities staff members. The merger is happening as part of an ongoing efficiency review of many different aspects of the university.
Knowing that this was coming, Swanson said KU used a high turnover rate in the facilities operations staff to keep several vacancies unfilled in preparation for the cuts in supervisor positions.
“We’ve had some open positions that have sat there for a while,” Swanson said.
Swanson said he still didn’t know how many positions would be cut. Several factors are still at work, he said, including the number of people who may elect to pursue early retirement buyouts.
Three people have lost their jobs so far, all at the supervisory level. Swanson said while he couldn’t guarantee there wouldn’t be additional job losses, he didn’t see the need for new cuts at this time.
As part of the merger, KU will be moving from a centralized system for custodial and maintenance service to a zone-based system, where staff will be focused on six different zones throughout the university instead of being based in one location.
Swanson said as part of the reorganization, some current jobs in the organizational chart will be cut, but employees will have the opportunity to apply for new positions.
According to a memo distributed to housing and facilities staff on Friday, the university intends to post three new jobs for each of the six zones, including a zone manager, a custodial supervisor and a maintenance supervisor. The university hopes to fill those jobs from current facilities and housing employees. An informational session for those interested in applying for those 18 jobs is scheduled for 8 a.m. Thursday in Woodruff Auditorium at the Kansas Union.
Also still to come is the assignment of workers to zones. The university will survey workers and try to work within their preferences, he said. The university will also match employees to zones based on familiarity with certain areas and their skills and experience.
“I know there’s a lot of angst out there, and I take that seriously,” Swanson said. “By the end of May and early June, we should have most of this behind us.”