UAMS under pressure 

UAMS under pressure

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' addition of 800 employees when it opened its new hospital at the first of the year has caused UAMS to put hiring restrictions in place, spokesperson Leslie Taylor confirms.

Departments will have to justify any new hires, both for new positions and those currently approved but unfilled, to new College of Medicine personnel committees. “We are all aware of the campus-wide financial concerns and I sincerely appreciate your continued efforts in managing budgets as conservatively as possible,” a letter from College of Medicine Dean Debra Fiser to department chairs said in announcing the committees.

UAMS' budget is $1.2 billion, 10 percent of which comes from a state appropriation. Taylor said UAMS is in “good shape” financially, but that Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson wants to be cautious because of the economic recession. UAMS now employs 10,780; the new hiring policy could help it cut about 200 positions by attrition.


Lottery winner?

Jim Purcell, director of the state Higher Education Department, was first in line for the ceremonial beginning of Arkansas lottery ticket sales shortly after midnight Sunday at a Murphy Oil station at Highway 10 and Chenal Parkway. He bought five $2 tickets, but didn't check for winners. He said he plans to frame them as a souvenir of the state's effort to aid college scholarships. If the $20,000 top prize isn't claimed, however, he said he might reconsider whether to scratch off the numbers.


Hush hush

We reported several weeks ago that former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura were expected in Little Rock for a private dinner at the home of retired Alltel CEO Joe Ford. Ford declined to discuss the event with us, but it was believed to be related to Bush's efforts to raise money for his presidential library in Dallas. The Bushes came to Little Rock and went without a word of notice in the press. But, for the record, our sources saw them arrive in Little Rock, via private jet at Central Flying Service, on Sept. 16.


Holt redux?

Jim Holt of Springdale, the conservative Republican who was beaten by U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln in her last race for Senate in 2004, told the news service for the conservative American Family Association that he is “praying over” whether to run for the Senate again in 2010. Holt derided most of the half-dozen or so Republicans who've announced as big government big spenders.





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