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Lawmakers urge UW System to remain accountable if given budget flexibility


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A Wisconsin Senate committee is open to giving the UW System more flexibility to manage their budgets and set tuition.

But at a hearing Wednesday, the lawmakers made it clear that the public university must remain accountable to state officials and taxpayers.

The Senate’s Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges discussed recommendations from a task force on giving UW campuses more flexibility, so they can do more with less money.

Panel members said the Legislature will tread carefully, after learning that the university’s new centralized Human Resource computer system overpaid $34 million in benefits to a number of its 79,000 employees.

Board of Regents’ vice president Michael Falbo told lawmakers it should never have happened, and the UW is doing everything it can to fix it.

The task force urged legislators to consider a number of flexibility proposals. They include a change in the system’s governance to give campus advisory boards more of a say, and moving employees to new UW personnel systems.

The task force said the Board of Regents should give lawmakers a comprehensive plan on the setting of tuition. It also recommended merit pay for top employees, but without extra funding from taxpayers.