AUSTIN (KXAN) – When Gov. Greg Abbott imposed a hiring freeze on state agencies Tuesday, many of the people employed at the University of Texas at Austin wondered what it could mean for their departments. Some employees said even after meetings, they are still confused and concerned about how the rest of the year will play out since some departments are already doing more with less.
Deans and HR managers received an email which said the university is looking at the impact on open positions. “We continue to seek clarification from the Governor’s Office on the directive and the waiver process to ensure we meet the Governor’s intent without disrupting the important teaching and research we do for Texas,” wrote Darrell Bazzell, Sr. Vice President and CFO at UT. “We know that a hiring freeze brings up many questions and concerns. We plan to keep you informed as we gather more information about the impact of this directive and as our plan for implementation develops.”
Currently, more than 250 positions are open at UT with nearly 40 postings just for the J.J. Pickle Research Campus in north Austin. Positions include researchers, scientists and software developers. At the main campus, jobs posted include guards, cooks and custodians.
UT says it will only ask for a waiver if the university considers the position critical, including public safety. Ultimately, the impact will vary on each of the 14 University of Texas System campuses and the new Dell Medical School.
“Positions funded with state appropriated funds will not be filled if they become vacant, unless they are deemed so critical we seek a waiver. It is important to note that UT campuses have a variety of funding sources, and the impact of the freeze will vary from campus to campus,” said spokeswoman at the University of Texas System, Jenny LaCoste-Caputo. “Our hope is that the freeze will not mean that faculty and other positions important to serving our students and patients and advancing our institutions and Texas higher education go unfilled.”
Texas State University in San Marcos says it’s also trying to get clarification. The university has almost 70 positions open right now.
The hiring freeze is expected to last through the end of August.