This is good news, though it does make you wonder what the point of all the initial layoffs was.
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, which laid off more than 2,400 employees last fall because of damage caused by Hurricane Ike, has begun rehiring in earnest.
School officials said Monday they’ve rehired about 500 people since January and will continue hiring in large numbers in coming months, action that has caused some to question whether last November’s cuts were rash.
“It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback, but in October and November there was no crystal ball available to tell us what our fate was going to be,” said Karen Sexton, executive vice president and CEO of the medical branch’s health systems. “We didn’t know how quickly we could get clinical facilities up and running and whether we’d be getting legislative support.”
Sexton added that the expenses reduced by fall’s workforce reduction enabled UTMB to get through the period during which it had no clinical revenue and be in a position to start hiring again this year.
Joe Jaworski, a lawyer in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the layoffs, cited the rehirings as evidence that many of last fall’s “pink slips were premature.”
“I think it’s reasonable to ask whether UTMB had to let employees go in such huge numbers if it was able to turn around and rehire them months later,” said Jaworski. “But I’m happy to see many coming back and hope the rehiring continues.”
Jaworski added that the rehires and the regents’ decision to remain in Galveston seem to be “an effort to recapture what was lost.”
Recent news about that lawsuit is here. I’m glad UTMB is rehiring, too, I just can’t help but feel that much of this could have been avoided. There should have been a stronger commitment from Governor Perry and the Legislature from the beginning, and a stronger push for such a commitment from UTMB.