We have been working non-stop the past week with University of Arizona and State of Arizona officials on transferring the Arizona Geological Survey from the State to the University. On Friday, the Arizona [Tucson] Daily Star, ran a front page story (http://tucson.com/news/state-and-regional/state-geologists-moving-to-ua-facing-layoffs/article_25c05d6d-2b00-529b-a774-0bb8cadd701a.html#comments) by science reporter Tom Beal, about the transfer. There were developments after he had interviewed us and subsequently.
Here's where we stand:
The Phoenix office will be closed by the end of June. We have boxed all of the historical and mostly irreplaceable mining files. We hope to move the files and the Phoenix library of geology and mining volumes into dead storage in the former mining and mineral museum in Phoenix until we can work out a long term solution.
We must vacate our State offices in Tucson by June 30. We will move to the former Arid Lands building east of the UA campus. We will go from 10,600 square feet to about 2,600 square feet, a reduction of about 75%.
The Arizona Experience store will be closed. Watch for news about our going out of business sale.
The Tucson scientific-technical library which is open to the public, is being reduced by ~75% to preserve the most critical materials. The UA libraries have been invited to examine our holdings to see if they want anything. If we find the resources in time, we hope to move priority volumes for which we will have no space, to the mineral museum in Phoenix. Whatever we cannot save will be made available to the community.
The State of Arizona has disavowed any responsibility for moving files, furniture, or staff, either in Phoenix or Tucson, saying that is the duty of the agency. Unfortunately, since this is the end of the fiscal year and none of this was budgeted, we have few remaining funds to pay for the move. We are working on options to move our assets before we have to dispose of them.
We are requesting an exception with the university to transfer our existing grants under the same terms as they were awarded to avoid charging the university's higher indirect cost rate, which would reduce the funds to actually work on the projects by 10-20%.
UA will still take at least 75% of the indirect costs from our grants, which we had used to fund the Survey's state operations. The indirect costs last year were about as much as our state appropriation, so their loss will significantly degrade our ability to continue state services.
The former mining and mineral museum will transfer from the Arizona Historical Society to AZGS on August 6 but is not approved for occupancy without substantial renovation. Although the building will continue to be owned by the State, we as tenants, are responsible for 100% of repairs and remodeling to allow it to be occupied, let alone preparing to open it as a museum.
We have been given 90 days to remove the mining and petroleum cores from the Tucson basement. We are evaluating whether we can move them to the Phoenix museum and how to get it done.
The Survey has base funding for the next year of $941,000 from UA. After that, we must find 100% of our own funds. Some of our most successful programs such as geological mapping and data preservation will be in jeopardy after that as they require 100% matching funds which we will be greatly limited. There are not many other grant opportunities to fund state functions, so AZGS will likely be shifting our focus away from Arizona service to whatever grants are available.
We lost 20% of our staff in recent months because of the uncertainty over the transfer. We notified another 25% in the past couple of weeks that we have no funds to continue their jobs after July 31.
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