Contra Costa Times Friday Oct 3, 1997 Associated Press
Stanford will lay off 40, shut construction office
Stanford - In one of the most sweeping administrative shakeups in Stanford University history, the department running the school's $1 billion building program will be closed and its 40 workers laid off.
The move, which was prompted largely by delays and cost overruns in some major constructon projects, eliminates the 20-year old Facilities Project Management office and replaces it with outside building consultants.
"It's a big disappointment to a lot of people who came to Stanford being told they were the best of the best," said Jim Kelly, senior project manager. Many of those given dismissal notices last week came to Stanford several years ago in a nationwide recruitment campaign.
One item of controversy was the renovation and reconstructon of the quake-damaged Stanford Museum, which came in 30 percent over its $17 million budget. The project was delayed for six months while Stanford worked wtih the contractor to cut the cost.
The workers who were dismissed have been offered severance packages or will be allowed to apply for other jobs at the university, Stanford officials said.
Top-level administrators who orchestrated the changes said there was no wrongdoing on the part of those dismissed, but that changes were needed in the face of widespread criticism both on and off the campus.
"By and large, they have done a good job at what they were asked to do," said Vice Provost Geoffrey Cox, who met with the staff last week to announce the dismissals.
The former management staff was being replaced to make way for a smaller, more streamlined office of Capital Planning and Management, he said.
The new office will be expected to work closely with at least four major constructon firms, yet to be named, who will advise Stanford on planning and design of projects, as well as eventually taking on the job of seeing the projects through to completion.