Announcement from Vice President Fitzsimons Regarding Facilities Restructuring

Posted on 7/27/2020 6:55:22 PM

Dear Colleagues, I hope you all are doing well.

Starting in January, the Administration and Finance Division began an assessment of the Facilities department, with a number of key goals as the foundation for this review:

  • improve efficiency and effectiveness of maintenance and operations;
  • evaluate how to be more responsive to campus needs;
  • determine ways to simplify the organizational structure;
  • develop better ways to improve communication and staff training within the unit; and
  • reduce costs of operations to achieve budget savings for IUP. 

As our financial situation continues to unfold, including understanding the information compiled for the State System financial sustainability plan, acting on our findings has become even more critical and urgent. 

The first phase of our work has been completed. Effective June 15, the Facilities and Engineering and Construction departments were merged with the Business and Administrative Services departments. As part of this reorganization, we are pleased to announce that Sam Phillips, who previously served as assistant vice president for Administration, Business and Hospitality Services, has been named associate vice president for University Operations and Administrative Services. Phillips will continue to manage the Business and Administrative Services group, but with the merger of the two areas, he will also assume leadership of the Facilities department.

Other changes include the assignments of Jason Mackovyak as executive director of Engineering and Construction and Larry Miller as director of Maintenance. Mackovyak will continue management of capital projects and will work closely with the facilities side of the operation. Both will report directly to Phillips. In addition, Mitch Peffer has been appointed project manager-planner, reporting to Mackovyak. All of these men have done excellent work, and we thank them for being willing to take on these new roles.

Within this first phase of the reorganization, the trade/shops organizational structure has been redesigned and streamlined to create a team of maintenance repair workers better positioned to work together as one unit to successfully respond to and complete work orders. This reorganization of the trade shop structure within the Facilities department reinforces our commitment to working as one team, without the individual silos of the previous shop model. It is intended to be a more flexible organization of labor, based on each worker’s skill sets and certifications. As part of this restructuring, several job descriptions have been reviewed and revised, and 12 manager and supervisory positions have been eliminated.

As selected employees strategically return to campus work to prepare our physical plant for the fall semester, they will receive training on best practices related to COVID-19 health and safety procedures. All of these returning facilities and maintenance employees will work Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. rather than in multiple shifts, with the exception of a skeleton crew to support evening classes and the residential halls once instruction begins.    

Throughout our assessment, we have seen a pattern of hard work and dedication to high-quality service to our university and to our students. We believe that the reorganization will retain that commitment to quality and will take our work to the next level of excellence. The offices within the Administration and Finance Division are united in our core mission to consistently deliver effective and efficient programs and services, focusing on a student-centered environment.

Within the financial sustainability plan, shared by President Driscoll earlier this month, we have reduced the operating budget allocated for facilities and maintenance repairs for capital projects from the amount set aside for strategic initiatives by approximately $800,000 over the next two years to assist IUP’s financial situation. This savings is in addition to the savings derived from the restructuring. When planning workload assignments for staff for the fall semester, priorities for capital projects and work will be as follows: projects dedicated to maintaining health and safety; work that prepares the campus for the fall return of faculty, staff, and students; and projects already started that need to be completed.

This means that work orders considered to be discretionary or optional will not be highly prioritized or considered this year. Examples of these types of projects include assembling furniture, carpet replacement, or room remodeling. Please understand that with fewer resources, we are focusing on the highest of priorities: ensuring that the campus is safe and that we are ready for instruction this fall under the extraordinary circumstances related to the pandemic.  

Change is not easy and not always comfortable. But, as we have worked through the last few months, I have been proud to see that members of this division have reaffirmed the values of teamwork, better results, continuous improvement, and learning from honest feedback. We are committed to being part of the important work of becoming a truly student-centered university.

Thank you for your continued patience and for your understanding as we move forward within this new structure.

Best Regards,
Debra L. Fitzsimons