Revised: February 1988

 I. Introduction

This paper describes the policies for authorizing, controlling, and reporting positions in the University of Wisconsin System (UWS). The principal elements include the requirement to manage positions within an appropriated full-time equivalent (FTE) authorization; the statutory process for changing authorizations; the compliance reports that must be submitted to state government; the management flexibility available in the use of gift, grant, and federal contract positions; and the decision to allow the UWS to have a different but compatible position management information system (PMIS). In addition, position control policies require that procedures be in place (see UW System Administrative Policy 348.A (SYS 348.A), Position Management Procedures) to assure compliance, including: vacant positions must exist prior to recruiting and filling, timely reports will be available comparing position authorizations with the number of filled classified and unclassified positions on the payrolls, and appropriate justification will be provided to document the need for additional positions. It is essential that each institution demonstrate full compliance with all UWS policies and procedures to assure that the management flexibility authorized by statute is being used properly. The policies that follow provide the basic guidelines for demonstrating compliance.

II. Statutory Provisions

A. Funding Source Summary

Position management policies are controlled by the statutory provisions identified in the table that follows:

Funding sources Authorizations/ Allocations Authorization Changes Management/ Reporting
GPR Biennial/Annual Budgets 16.50(3) 16.004(7)
PR (gifts, grants) 16.505(2m) 16.004(7), 16.505(2m)
PR (all other) 16.505(2) 16.004(7)
PRF (overhead) 16.505(1)(c) 16.004(7)
PRF (contracts) 16.505(2m) 16.004(7), 16.505(2m)
SEG 16.50(3) 16.004(7)

B. Position Authorizations

The legislative budget process establishes an FTE position authorization for the UWS by revenue source, and the annual budget process allocates the position authorization to the institutions. For purposes of position control and reporting, the allocated positions represent the initial authorization levels against which institutions are held accountable. Sections 16.50(3), 16.505(1)(c), 16.505(2), and 16.505(2m) provide the statutory provisions for changing position authority levels during the biennium. Upon System Administration (SA) approval, the requests and reports will be forwarded when they satisfy the statutory requirement summarized in the following sections.

Section 16.50(3): General Purpose Revenues (GPR) and Segregated Trust Funds (SEG) are covered by this statutory section. The reporting and approval requirements of this section are the most rigorous; requests for additional positions require a positive recommendation by the Department of Administration (DOA), and the approval of Joint Committee on Finance (JCOF). “. . . No change in the number of full-time equivalent positions authorized through the biennial budget process . . . may be made without the approval of the joint committee on finance. . . .” Historically, increases under this section have been limited to a small number of trust fund positions.

Section 16.505(1)(c): This section governs all positions supported from federal indirect cost recovery revenue, Funds 150 and 350. The statute allows the Governor, without JCOF concurrence, to create or abolish positions supported from federal funds, except for positions supported by federal contract funds, under s. 20.285(1)(j) and (m). Federal contract funds are separately covered by s. 16.505(2m).

Section 16.505(2): This section covers all Program Revenue (PR) positions, other than gift, grant, and federal contract positions. The approval process for additional positions is less complicated than s. 16.50(3) in that the JCOF has the option to not participate in the approval process. The statute states that if the Governor proposes to authorize the creation of any position from non-gift and grant funding, he shall notify the Joint Committee on Finance. The committee has 14 working days after the date of the notification in which to notify the Governor that it has scheduled a meeting for the purpose of reviewing the proposed action. If the committee schedules a meeting, the committee may approve or deny creation of the positions. Historically, DOA and JCOF approval of position requests is dependent upon evidence of need, complete documentation, and an effort to reallocate within and between institutions.

Section 16.505(2m): With approval of the 1987-89 Biennial Budget Act, the UWS was granted substantial control over the creation and deletion of positions funded by gifts, grants, and federal contracts. The one condition attached to the increased authority is that a report be submitted quarterly. The statute states that, . . . the board of regents of the University of Wisconsin system may create or abolish a full-time equivalent position or portion thereof from revenues appropriated under s. 20.285(1)(j) or (m). No later than the 15th of the month following completion of each calendar quarter, the board of regents shall report to the department (DOA) and the co-chairpersons of the joint committee on finance concerning the number of full-time equivalent positions created or abolished . . . during the preceding calendar quarter and the source of funding for each such position.” The reporting guidelines and forms are provided in Section IV.B. of SYS 348.APosition Management Procedures.

C. Position Information Requirements

Although s. 16.004(7) requires DOA to establish and maintain a Personnel Management Information System (PMIS) for most agencies, DOA in September 1980, recommended to the JCOF that the UWS be exempt from inclusion in the state PMIS. The JCOF agreed to allow the UWS to maintain a position information system which is compatible and consistent with the purposes of the PMIS system, but which does not require the detailed tracking of individual positions by position number. The composition, purposes, and reporting requirements of PMIS are stated as an information system that will furnish “information pertaining to authorized positions, payroll, and related items for civil service employees. . . . It is the intent of the legislature that the University of Wisconsin system provide position and other information, . . . which includes appropriate data on each position (UWS reports on both classified and unclassified positions), facilitates accountability for each authorized position and traces each position over time.” DOA is required to report on the compliance of each agency with the terms of this section when requested by the JCOF. The UWS and DOA have agreed to accept the provisions identified in Section IV. of SYS 348.A, Position Management Procedures as meeting the statutory requirements with regard to reports and the availability of detailed information on classified employees.

III. Position Control Policies

The management of the UWS position authorization will be consistent with the operating policies identified below:

  1. The Authorized Position Control Report (Schedule #1) pdf will represent the authorized number of FTE positions by revenue type against which institutions will control filled and vacant positions. The report, which is prepared by SA, starts with the annual budget allocation, and is adjusted for inter-institutional reallocations and approvals under ss. 16.505(1)(c), 16.505(2), 16.505(2m), and 16.50(3).
  2. The chancellor’s designee will be responsible for compliance with all position control policies and procedures.
  3. The announcement, recruitment, and filling of positions on GPR, PR (other than gift and grant), PRF (overhead and financial aids), and SEG revenues will be limited to the availability of authorized, uncommitted, vacant positions. An exception to the announcement and recruitment condition is permitted when the officer responsible for position control is able to confirm that an existing filled position will become vacant and available prior to filling a new position.
    However, recruitment initiated in anticipation of a vacancy is not justification for exceeding the authorized position level; if hiring must occur, an appropriate revenue source with uncommitted positions must be used.
  4. The net change in the number of positions funded from PR (gift and grant) and PRF (contracts) revenues from the number shown on the Authorized Position Control Report at the end of the previous quarter must be reported to System Administration on a quarterly basis, The chancellor’s designee is authorized to create PR (gift and grant) and PRF (contract) positions to enable the faculty to satisfy the terms of Regent-approved gifts, grants, and contracts, provided that a report of such action is filed quarterly with System Administration. The report shall be filed not later than the tenth day of the quarter following the month when the position was first payrolled on the gift, grant, or contract.
  5. Filled positions in excess of authorized levels will not be payrolled from any appropriate fund without sufficient FTE position authority.
  6. Acceptable vacancy levels will be established each year, with temporary and/or permanent adjustments made to position authorizations if vacancy rates exceed the prescribed levels. As a part of the annual budget process, the vice president for business and finance, in consultation with the institutions, will establish acceptable vacancy rates for each of the various revenue types. As a part of this agreement, the degree to which the actual vacancy rate may vary from the acceptable level, and the time period of the variance, will be established.
  7. Position control shall be applied to all unclassified staff with nine-, ten-, and twelve-month appointments (see Unclassified Personnel Guideline #1 -ranked faculty, academic staff, employees- in-training, visiting faculty, ad hocs and graduate assistants), and all permanent and project classified staff. The filled position calculation shall be based upon the payrolled percent regardless of budget appointment (i.e., an academic year unclassified employe appointment would be 100% in September and 0% in July). Position control shall not be applied to classified limited-term employees (LTE), unclassified hourly staff (equivalent to classified LTE), fellows and trainees, scholars, student help, and hourly fee graders.

IV. Reference to SYS 348.A, Position Management Procedures

The Procedure Paper includes institution-specific procedures, procedures for requesting additional positions, and reporting procedures to demonstrate compliance.