Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin disapproves of outsourcing timeline
By VIMAL PATEL firstname.lastname@example.org
Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin said the A&M System chief’s timeline regarding the possible outsourcing of many rank-and-file staff jobs was “not a timetable I felt appropriate.”
“I made that very clear,” Loftin told a meeting of the Faculty Senate on Monday. “We tend to take our time here at Texas A&M. … We try to do it right. … I hope we have the time to really work through this beyond May.”
That’s when Chancellor John Sharp, Loftin said, wants to submit a preliminary report to the Board of Regents regarding his exploration of outsourcing to the private sector of dining services, landscaping, custodial services and building maintenance.
One faculty senator asked Loftin why it was Sharp who was pushing an issue that should be handled at the university level.
Historically, there has been tension between the A&M president and the A&M System chancellor, who serves as the overseer of the entire 11-university system, which also has seven state agencies and a Health Science Center. Texas A&M is the system’s flagship campus. The chancellor’s office is off-campus, but in College Station.
In response to the senator, Loftin said, “I expressed concerns as well.”
Loftin said that committees with representation from students, faculty and staff will evaluate the proposals as they come in from the private sector.
He said that dining services will be handled by a university committee because dining services impacts the university almost exclusively. He said that Sharp wants another committee to handle the other three areas.
“I told them that from my standpoint as president, I have no outcome predetermined,” Loftin said. “I’ll let the process take care of itself.”
Sharp could not be reached for this story. A&M System spokesman Steve Moore said that the committees are the product of communication between Sharp and Loftin, and that they are “pretty democratic.” They include members from both the A&M System and Texas A&M University, he said.
“People are trying to approach it in a thoughtful way,” he said.
Loftin’s comments were before a body that has opposed Sharp’s exploration. In a unanimous resolution passed last month in a voice vote, the Faculty Senate stated opposition to “the move to outsource Texas A&M services without the due diligence of shared governance.”
Sharp has said that the goal of moving the management of the operations to the private sector is cost savings.
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