Shared Admin Services Model – ANNOTATED

Submitted anonymously by a longtime UMass Boston employee in response to Interim Chancellor Newman’s email

*Note: original text of email is in black and the employee’s translation is in red.

From: Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman Marty’s appointee that has NO skin in UMB
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2018 12:36 PM
Subject: Shared Administrative Services Model What Amherst/Lowell, the “real” UMass campuses want to do or already have we will make ALL campuses conform…especially that unruly, thorn in our sides: UMB


Dear Staff and Faculty,

I want to inform you about a UMass system-wide project to develop a shared administrative services model that you may be hearing about as it progresses over the course of the fall. We’ve being trying for years to move toward a “business model” AKA a pool of admins for academic departments so we’ll pretend we’re now collaboratively developing something.

Like many public universities, we are constantly challenged to maintain our steadfast commitment to excellence and student affordability in the face of rising costs and competition for state resources. Given those factors, the UMass system has embarked on a project to examine how to screw UMB again with more layoffs and budget cuts that won’t affect those of us in the upper level administration here a strategic shared services model can achieve cost savings while improving the services we provide to students, vendors, and other important partners.

According to the Education Advisory Board, implementing a more streamlined and unified process can achieve a 10 to 15 percent reduction in operating costs in relevant functional areas, which can relieve budget pressure on academic resources, faculty hiring, student financial aid, and other core mission priorities. Let’s not mention cutting the excessive number of upper level administrators at UMB vs the other campuses could probably achieve the same reduction in costs. Building on the work already completed through the system-wide Better Together initiative, the project will focus on accounts payable, payroll, and some aspects of procurement additional layoffs and foolishness like one printer per floor.

It is important for everyone to know that shared service models are not equivalent to centralization. I’ll say this, but let’s be real…I’m telling a big fat lie here. They put the customer at the center in the delivery of routine transactions which frees administrative staff to put their time into strategy, analysis, and continuous improvement. This pretty much defines centralization but readers of this email won’t be smart enough to pick up on it. A primary objective of the project will be minimizing impact on staff. This is, of course a throwaway line because we all know we have not/do not/will not care about the impact on staff.

All five chancellors, as well as the provosts and vice chancellors for administration and finance across the UMass system, strongly support the project. Marty appointed me and VC for A&F but let’s make it “look” like UMB has upper level administrators that are representing them. A cross-functional team of representatives from all of the UMass campuses is working collaboratively to create an action plan. Their work will involve identifying the best processes to be considered for shared services and an analysis of our data. We’ll have them come out with a report that says what we want and we’ll start to implement it.

The team will meet regularly through the planning phase, culminating in an action plan to be delivered to President Marty Meehan and the chancellors in December. It’s 7 weeks until December, we’ll have lunch a few times before the holidays, and then give the action plan to Marty in December so an announcement can be made about the layoffs and changes we’re instituting over intersession when the fewest people are on campus to cause a ruckus. In addition to Provost Emily McDermott and Vice Chancellor for A&F Kathleen Kirleis, UMass Boston will be represented on the project by Associate Controller KrisAnn O’Herron, Payroll Manager Amy Chin, Director of Procurement Peter Franciosi, Associate Vice Chancellor for A&F Chris Giuliani, and Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Marie Bowen. I’ll throw in some folks from UMB central administration to show how much this isn’t about centralization.

Transparency is critical to the success of this enterprise.  The team will share with you progress updates as well as information regarding decision-making and outcomes as it becomes available. Transparency is something they love so we’ll tell them what we are going to do and tell them we’re being transparent by telling them what’s going to happen. To be sure, change is hard, and it can be unsettling. Many questions will surface as we move through the planning process. You are encouraged to reach out to your supervisors or the individuals identified above with those questions. I also encourage you to provide feedback or ask questions by emailing, a dedicated communication point. The best way for us to ensure a thoughtful and collaborative process that is sensitive to the individual needs of our campus is to fully engage with it. Losing your job can be hard on people that actually have to work to pay bills in real life, so we’ll pretend to care and pretend to know the individual needs of the UMB campus.

Thank you in advance for your support of this project and for all that you do every day to make UMass Boston excel.

Katherine Newman
Interim (I’m just a temporary Marty’s hack) Chancellor


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