EIU Old Main 04/14/17 (2)

Pictured is Old Main on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

KEVIN KILHOFFER, JOURNAL GAZETTE & TIMES-COURIER

CHARLESTON -- Eastern Illinois University's president announced a "hard freeze" on purchases effective immediately Thursday.

In a memo, David Glassman told account managers, P-Card holders, and OfficeMax users that he is implementing a temporary freeze on "all purchases."

Last year, there was a freeze implemented on many purchases at the university, including things like travel expenses and non-instructional capital equipment purchases. This time around, the freeze has “stronger” and more definitive language to better rein in university expenditures, said Paul McCann, vice president for business affairs.

He said Thursday's halt has been implemented to set more rigid control over cash outflow.

This freeze includes P-card (university credit card) charges and OfficeMax spending, according to the memo. McCann noted that many of the purchases made around this time of year are in preparation for the fall semester.

These purchases could include items like paper, printer toner and other supplies, McCann said.

The freeze does not extend only to office supplies, though, McCann stressed. The freeze does cover “all purchases” minus any exceptions that will require approval from the Office of Procurement, Disbursements and Contract Services or McCann.

McCann said these exceptions will be taken on a case by case basis, adding that he will try to be consistent with these exceptions across the university.

The uncertainty as to whether state lawmakers will pass a budget prompted the move, according to the memo from Glassman.

McCann said the halt on purchases is serving as more of a delaying measure until the administration is more confident in where the state is heading. He said the university is just looking ahead.

Most recently, Gov. Bruce Rauner has ordered lawmakers to return to Springfield for a special session specifically to come to an agreement on a budget that has been absent in the state for nearly three years.

So far, little to no movement has been made. Legislators have until Saturday to agree on a budget, or the state enters its third year without a spending plan.

"We will notify you promptly when the temporary freeze is lifted," Glassman said in the memo.

McCann added this is by no means an indefinite freeze; it is just unclear at this point how long it may last.

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Jarad Jarmon is a reporter for the JG-TC. He covers the city of Charleston, Eastern Illinois University, Mattoon schools and the Regional Office of Education.

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