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PPSA Executive Board

The following statement was issued Monday, October 27, and posted to Almanac Between Issues.

Outsourcing and its Consequences for Staff

The Penn Professional Staff Assembly (PPSA) would like to add its voice to the many who have expressed concern over the recent announcement of the outsourcing of Facilities Planning to Trammell Crow. Many of the affected employees are those who make up our constituency, the A-1 employees.

Over the past few years we have seen a continual decline in employee morale as the uncertainty of the new Penn world has taken hold of this campus. For years Penn has fostered among its employees a feeling of community and family. The suddenness of the Trammell Crow announcement has once and for all shattered that mind-set. Looking back upon the mission statement of the new Executive Vice President (EVP) when he came to Penn, none of us should be surprised that this has happened. It was made very clear that all areas and units of the University were on review. We now know this to be true; we now know the only safe jobs at Penn are those of tenured faculty. However, we do not know the criteria that go into any of these review processes. Each of us has been told to "do more with less." We all feel we are doing just that, but how do we weigh whether our efforts will save our jobs or not? We as administrators deserve to know how we are being judged. This is the type of communication which has been lacking during this entire process.

PPSA supports the proposal made by the A-3 Assembly [Almanac October 21] calling for scheduled updates before University Council from the EVP on this ongoing evaluative process. We would like to know what other areas are prime targets for outsourcing. And, most important, we need to know what we in those targeted areas can do to stave off outsourcing. PPSA feels it is important for more staff to be included in understanding information on the benchmarks used to determine what gets outsourced-in terms of customer service, financial return, cost avoidance-so that each unit at least knows what they are trying to accomplish relative to the market.

PPSA has met with John Fry since the announcement. We are pleased to see the prompt scheduling of resume writing workshops and job interview training. We would like to see both of these programs, as well as programs centered around enhanced change management and/or career planning seminars, become part of the overall program offered by the University's Office of Training and Organizational Development. It is something we all need to be aware of.

We hope Trammell Crow keeps its word and retains many of the talented people affected by this process. For those seeking other jobs at Penn, we would like to see preferential status given to any affected employees in their efforts to find another job at Penn. We have hundreds of job openings on campus; why can't these affected employees who meet the job requirements be given first shot at these jobs?

- Penn Professional Staff Assembly
Executive Board

Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, November 4, 1997, Volume 44, No. 11