The UC Office of the President announced Tuesday that Patrick Lenz, the vice president of budget and capital resources, will retire from the University of California on Dec. 31, 2014.
Lenz has served in the position for more than six years. His office, which falls under the purview of UCOP’s Business Operations division, focuses on capital projects, energy contracts and sustainability initiatives. It also conducts budget negotiations and analyzes allocation of funds to individual campuses.
The vice president of budget and capital resources also interacts with the governor, state Legislature, California Department of Finance and California Legislative Analyst’s Office. These negotiations often involve attempts to increase the amount of money the university receives from the state’s general fund each year.
One of Lenz’s major accomplishments was refinancing the university’s lease revenue bonds — which enable the state to lease property to the university — efforts that cumulatively saved the university $100 million over a decade. Because the state was reluctant to issue new bonds, Lenz spent two years negotiating with the state legislature and the governor to find an alternate mechanism for projects such as the seismic retrofit of Tolman Hall at UC Berkeley.
Lenz also focused on the UC retirement program, which had not been funded by the state since 1990. In 2012, the state funded the program for two years but did not for the 2014-15 fiscal year. Still, Lenz said the state now “recognizes their liability.”
“We’ve got to go a long way to recover,” Lenz said. “The state has to recognize that if they want certain things that are a priority for policymakers … (such as) the UC taking more California residents, then they’ve got to put money in the budget.”
The UC system competes with programs such as corrections and social services in discretionary funds, comprising about 10 percent of state budget, Lenz said. He added that this makes it a challenge for the state to be able to meet the funding needs of the university.
“Patrick was invaluable to the university during one of the worst crises in our immediate history. In the time that he was here, he had to contend with a nearly billion-dollar cut in state funding … we just would not be in the same position we are without his leadership,” said Nathan Brostrom, the UCOP executive vice president for business operations.
Brostrom said he hopes to fill Lenz’s position by early next year, although he noted the exact responsibilities of the role may change due to restructuring of UCOP finance and budget departments.
“I hope my successor has the … same drive — although with more energy than what I’ve got today — to continue the fight in Sacramento to get policymakers to recognize that the CSU, UC and community colleges represent the economic engine and future fiscal vitality of this state,” Lenz said.