Monday, May 30, 2016

AZGS transfer to University of Arizona - update

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 ( 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. 


  1. Anonymous3:58 AM

    Gee thank you governor ducey and staff for destroying and reducing the effectiveness of a fine organization. Well done. well done in the name of what? Short sighted and not well planned. No vision and no understanding of what azgs meant to our state. Just to save a few bucks? IT IS NOT WORTH IT. YOUR ARE LOSING FAR MORE THAN YOU WILL GAIN. HOW SAD.

    1. Anonymous8:18 AM

      It was the same way with the AZ Mining and Mineral Museum. The people lost far more than what was gained. Oh! What was gained? I keep forgetting.

  2. Anonymous8:12 AM

    According to Lee Allison –“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.”

    If this is the case, then why is there a general appropriation to the Dept of Administration (ADOA) for agency relocation? As outlined in:
    2016 General Appropriations Bill HB 2695 sub for SB1526
    Sec. 163. Appropriation; operating adjustments
    Agency relocation $ 576,800
    Agency relocation:
    The amount appropriated is for one-time relocation costs for state agencies in fiscal year 2016-2017. The joint legislative budget committee staff shall determine and the department of administration shall allocate to each agency or department an amount for relocation costs. The joint legislative budget committee staff shall also determine and the department of administration shall allocate adjustments, as necessary, in expenditure authority to allow for the costs of relocation.

    Oh my goodness! There it is Agency relocation! Where did that come from! OOOPPS!

    1. Anonymous2:37 PM

      Of course, the AZGS has to move before the Agency relocation monies become available. Those types of monies are always for someone else. I wonder who? And who will move into the space vacated by AZGS? That should be interesting.

    2. However, do you define AZGS dismemberment as "Agency relocation"? To get those monies, it would seem that the state agency must exist through the relocation process. IMO the gov's action on AZGS is not "relocation" in any sense of the word.

      Or can you interpret HB2695 more expansively than the language suggests? If so, great, Lee should get whatever funds he can for this move. I am a lot less optimistic.

  3. Anonymous8:57 AM

    So sad to see the end of was such a great agency and served the public and other State agencies well by providing a wealth of geologic, hydrogeologic, mining history and mineral resources information. It took many years under the leadership of Dr. Larry Fellows and Dr. Lee Allison to grow the AZGS into what was one of the premiere State geological surveys. Sad end.


    Appears the political leaders have little care about many things. We, who are looking for the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum to reappear, can only hope someone;[the current day Polly Rosenbaum] to appear and push to reopen a Phoenix Landmark. Teachers, and all those now adults who found real knowledge at the MINERAL MUSEUM programs: MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD.

    1. Anonymous9:28 AM

      Unfortunately, the voices were heard and enacted by one Gail Griffin, which resulted in an badly thought-out addition rushed onto the agency consolidation bill. All of this can be attributed to the whining and moaning of disgruntled MMM enthusiasts who hoped to wrestle the collections away from the nefarious Ann Woosley and the evil AHS. Be careful what you ask for, and whom you ask to speak for you.

    2. Actually, the museum transfer was very carefully planned. The Governor requested a transfer plan in 2015 so Senator Griffin prepared one and presented it in 2016 in support of SB1440. That bill passed the Senate by 26 to 2. It would have passed the House by a similar margin because a similar bill did in 2015. However, it never received a public hearing. The AHS tried to kill the bill in the Senate and is suspected of being responsible for killing the bill in House committee.

      That is why the content of the bill was added to the consolidation bill with nearly unanimous support by both House and Senate. There is no problem with the very carefully planned museum transfer. AZGS is encountering difficulties because there is no transition plan for consolidation of the AZGS with the UA, not because of the museum transfer.

      Is the individual who posted the uninformed comment about Senator Griffin willing to debate the issue?