Following the criticism

University Administration Office will not be dissolved after all

Entree Bestuursgebouw UU waar de UBD is gehuisvest
The Administration Building, where most employees of the UAO work. Photo: DUB

In April, the Executive Board dropped a bomb: the University Administration Office (UAO) would cease to exist and the post of Managing Director, then occupied by Leon van de Zande, would be abolished. The goal was to manage the different departments within the UAO directly, with the help of a University Secretary, who would serve as a strategic planner. Instead of having a single budget for the entire UAO, each department would have its own budget, which would have consequences for the employee council. The Executive Board stated at the time that they didn’t want every department to have its own council. 

The announcement was met with criticism, a lot of criticism. Most people working at UAO didn't understand why that decision had been made. Employees complained to both the Administration Office and the University Council, which is only allowed to comment on any aspect of the changes at the very last moment.

The Administration Office gave a negative advice about the change just before the summer break, after which the Executive Board came up with an adjusted plan that was discussed with the Administration Office in a private meeting on September 15. However, the council members feel that they did not have enough time to study the new plans, not to mention they find the document rather incomplete, says the chair of the Administration Office, Bobby Baidjnath Misier.

Wednesday, September 21, a news item on the Intranet shared the state of affairs around the organisational change, which – according to the former plan – would start on November 1. The update states that, after hearing the concerns of the Administration Office, the University Council and the Local Consultation decided not to dissolve the UAO after all.

The Executive Board writes on the Intranet: “The current eight departments will remain, with the proposed post of a University Secretary in charge of the Management Office. By keeping the UAO as a single office, the current horizontal cooperation between the domain departments will be supported, one budget can be kept, and the UAO council can maintain its current form. The targets of the organisation change will still be safeguarded by setting the Executive Board as the direct manager of the UAO, as well as by creating a management portfolio and giving the new Secretary a major role.”

Since the employment of these plans is still confidential, the UAO council can’t share all of its criticism publically. However, the chair does admit that “the plan is not complete and many questions are still unanswered.” Moreover, it contains issues that, in the eyes of the council, “affect the legal status of employees because the directors will get a longer mandate than they have now,” says Baidjnath Misier. Last but not least, the council is still missing a rationale for the need to change the organisational structure.

The Executive Board is considering the questions of the Administration Office but sticks to its view that managing of the different directors directly will be more efficient, since the board members can make adjustments more quickly where necessary. In about five weeks, the organisation change will be discussed again in a UAO council meeting.