Yale Security eliminates positions

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Photo by Margaret Katcher.

As part of the University’s effort to reduce expenses, Yale Security has eliminated its director of security and will lay off two to three other security officials.

The layoffs are part of a reorganization effort at Yale Security that administrators said will simplify and streamline operations and save the University money at a time of wide-spread budget cuts.

The highest eliminated position, director of Yale Security, will be replaced by more lower-ranking supervisors, said Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith, who oversees campus security.

Officials said it is still unclear how many layoffs there will be. University Secretary Linda Lorimer estimated that two or three jobs could be lost. She added that the changes will be in place in about two months.

The change is a departure from Highsmith’s statement in September that Yale Security and the Yale Police Department finalized a budget for the 2010 fiscal year that would not require any personnel cuts. In September she said no security or police officers would be let go “for obvious reasons.”

Yale Security and YPD have also cut some administrative costs, but Highsmith said those cuts will not affect student safety because they would not reduce the size of the patrol force.

Yale security guards are not sworn law enforcement officers and do not carry firearms or have the authority to make arrests. They serve as a first line of defense, guarding colleges and other buildings and alerting Yale Police when major problems occur. Yale Police Chief James A. Perrotti has said that he considers Yale Security to be the eyes and ears of his department.

Four of five Yale Security guards interviewed said they were ambivalent about the changes, but one said he did not see why the changes were necessary. The guards spoke about the reorganization on the condition of anonymity because they said they were not allowed to comment publicly.

The last director of Yale Security, George Aylward, has already left Yale and did not return multiple requests for comment.

The cause of the security reorganization is a familiar one: Yale’s budget deficit. Lorimer said the general lack of funds prompted an examination into how Yale Security and most other Yale departments could be made more efficient.

“One of the silver linings of the budgetary situation is that its calling on all administrative units to look carefully at structures and staffing and see ways to be more efficient,” Lorimer said.

Highsmith said that the reorganization will combine supervisory layers in Yale Security, flattening the department’s management. Security officials said they hope fewer administrative layers will improve supervision of the Yale security guards while increasing promotional opportunities because the number of positions directly above the guards will increase.

As part of the reorganization, Yale Security will also split into two forces: one that manages the University’s technical security systems and one that manages the actual guards. The proposed changes do not affect the day-to-day operations of the Yale Security guards, administrators said.

Since the endowment fell 24.6 percent in the 2009 fiscal year, Yale has delayed faculty hires, laid off about 100 staff and suspended most construction projects. These budget cuts have recovered $250 million of the initial projected budget gap of $350 million, Yale officials said.

But now the remaining $100 million will be more difficult to find, Levin said earlier this month. Salovey said at the time that the remaining cuts must be achieved by finding “little pieces” to eliminate and scrutinizing personnel-related costs.

Assistant Director Frank Biceglia, Yale Security’s No. 2 official, said he did not know the details of the reorganization.

Lorimer said that the murder of Yale graduate student Annie Le GRD ’13 on campus factored into the decisions about the reorganization: Yale had to cut costs while maintaining a strong and large security presence.

“The Security staff has done an outstanding job this year in some very challenging circumstances,” Highsmith said.

The office of the former security director now directs calls to Francisco Ortiz, the former New Haven police chief who is now head of security at Yale’s West Campus.

Comments

  • brd11

    So now we’ll have a Technical Security Services department, Guard department and West Campus security for a total of 3 departments. It seems the chain is becoming more confused than any streamlining process. Why not just fold everyone into the Yale Police Department? One department with one budget will save a lot more money. Do we really need 4 different entities at Yale to do the same thing?

  • jkoko

    What they do need is eliminate the security officers that have been in the same post for many years. Give the opportunity to others that are starting and they’ll see they will save a lot of money.

  • Med10

    You post the same thing in every article related to the security layoffs. If you have no seniority in your job that’s too bad. If you’re unhappy find another place to work. With that out of the way, why not have just 1 public safety department to streamline management and budget concerns.