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January 22, 2004

Technology changes blamed for loss of 11 CSSD jobs

The positions of 11 staff members in Computer Services and Systems Development (CSSD) were eliminated last November, University officials confirmed.

The 11 staff all worked at RIDC Park in the CSSD Operations Center, which is being replaced by a new system, according to Pitt spokesperson Robert Hill.

“The services that were performed by this center had lost their relevance in today’s highly technological environment,” Hill said. Pitt is implementing a Network Operations Center to replace and expand the functions of the obsolete CSSD center, he said.

Unlike its predecessor, “the new Network Operations Center will be the centrally located, integrated comprehensive center responsible for University-wide information technology services, including data monitoring, server functions, applications maintenance and power-outage resolutions. That new system requires new equipment and will include the redeployment of some current staff responsibilities. In fact, some of the 11 staff who were displaced may be offered the opportunity to apply for jobs in the new center,” Hill said.

“This new Network Operations Center fits in with the continuing integration of new information technology services into the University’s general infrastructure, as articulated in goals set by the University’s ‘An Information Technology Foundation for the 21st Century’ plan,” Hill said. That document was issued by the Provost’s office in May 2000.

According to CSSD director Jinx Walton, the Network Operations Center, currently in transition from the old system, is expected to be fully operational by late spring.

Ron Frisch, associate vice chancellor for Human Resources, said that none of the 11 staff members was dismissed for cause. “In such cases where staff positions are eliminated, the University does provide all those people who were in hard-money-funded positions some form of limited financial continuation, which varies.”

Frisch declined to offer details on the University’s severance pay formula.

“We do have a person at Human Resources committed to working with those individuals, to help with résumés, to help with searching for job positions, and with job placement within the University, where appropriate,” Frisch said.

Hill said no other staff position eliminations of this magnitude are expected, “other than a position here or there in the normal course of University business.”

—Peter Hart

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