Gov. Janet Napolitano is hosting meetings today with state legislative leaders to address the state’s impending $1.2 billion budget shortfall for the current fiscal year.

This comes at the invitation from the president of the Senate and speaker of the House following the governor’s veto of the latest budget proposal from the Legislature.

According to the Capitol Times, Napolitano on Monday vetoed a spending freeze approved last week by the Legislature that would have prevented state agencies from spending about $580 million already assigned to them, including $25 million from the three universities.

Republican leaders said the move did not amount to a budget cut, but was intended to guarantee agencies did not spend all of the money before a solution could be reached on the deficit, the Times reported. Napolitano said in her veto letter the bill was rejected because it was not a comprehensive plan developed and approved with bipartisan support.

A second piece of legislation, which would freeze state hiring, including universities, has passed both houses and is awaiting transmittal to the governor.

Meanwhile, NAU President John Haeger has issued personnel evaluation and hiring guidelines that supplement his budget guidelines announced last month.

The president has announced that:

  • Job openings that are not vital to and directly critical to the university mission will be discontinued or postponed indefinitely.
  • Department directors and managers must complete a faculty/staff position justification for any positions they believe are essential to the university mission that should be exempted from the position freeze.
  • All positions, regardless of funding sources, must be reviewed by vice presidents using the faculty/staff position justification process.
  • Vice presidents will provide the president with a bimonthly report of positions searched, hired and positions not filled.