Sharon Eichten, director of finance and administrative services in Information Technology Resources, has been named CSUN’s new director of budget planning and management and will be starting her new job on Oct. 17.
Ron Clouse, the university’s current director of budget planning and management, retired on June 30; he will be assisting in the transition of budget directors during the current 2006-07 fiscal year, however.
Eichten, who holds a degree from CSUN in business administration, said she was excited to take on her new role.
“I am thrilled. This is a tremendous opportunity,” Eichten said, adding that she definitely has a great passion for working with numbers.
Eichten started her professional career at CSUN, serving as manager of finance and logistical services for ITR, where she managed the budgets of both the University Library and ITR.
Having worked in her current position since 1998, she also served as common management systems project director for about two and half years, a job in which she managed all aspects of the PeopleSoft enterprise resource planning software environment.
“Sharon brings to campus some 15 years of valuable experience in managing divisional budgets and expenditures, a demonstrated work ethic and a history of energetic service on campus committees,” said James Sullivan, vice president for administration and finance, in a statement released Oct. 4.
Having known Eichten for a number of years, Clouse said he is confident that she is the right person for the job.
“She’s going to do really well,” Clouse said. “She knows everyone on campus, she (is) collaborative and is willing to go out and ask questions and find out what the environment is. She also has a very positive attitude.”
Laura Clary, manager of academic resources, agrees.
“She has tons of experience and directly related experience on campus,” Clary said. “When she has a task, she’s committed to doing that the best way she can. She loves working with the budget and her attention to detail is astonishing.”
Having been Eichten’s assistant budget analyst, Clary worked directly for her for about two years, and always found her to be fair and dedicated to the campus, she said.
The director of budget planning and management’s role is to make estimates of the revenues for the year in all budget areas and to integrate those with allocations or allotments coming from the state, Clouse said.
“It is knowing all the parameters that are relevant to revenue, benefits and expenditures,” he said.
Clouse said he really enjoyed dealing with the people on campus, and now has plans to travel, deal with various projects around the house and go back to school to study geology and astronomy as Eichten takes over his role as director.
Among the changes in budget planning that Eichten will be overseeing this year is the new plan for the California State University system to collect and administer student fees through the CSU trust fund rather than as a state general fund. This will improve year end close efficiencies within the CSU.
Currently, student fees are deposited into a bank account that is swept daily by the State Department of Finance and invested immediately. This means that the State Department of Finance is reimbursed by the CSU for its forgone interest.
If the new plan is approved, receipts will be deposited into a bank account that the CSU will control, which means that the CSU will be responsible for making sure there are sufficient funds to cover payroll, benefits and other expenditures.
This will affect the way accounting is done, but it does not affect the way students pay their fees, said Clouse.
“It is a mechanism to allow for increased efficiencies at both the State and the CSU level of handling both the accounting and business practices,” said Clouse.
The rules for the change however, have not been full defined. There will be series of upcoming conferences that will deal with the rules and other details involved in the change.
Other projects that Eichten will be dealing with include the new housing construction, the building of the G3 parking structure and the new Performing Arts Center which will be completed late in 2009.
Having been at CSUN her entire career, Eichten has seen the campus go through major changes, especially the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which she said brought everyone closer together.
Indeed, the difficult period of the earthquake was also a time that Clary recalls as everyone uniting with each other to deal with the circumstances, in which Eichten played a role in stabilizing the situation.
“After the earthquake, we were all squished into a tiny office and she knew how to build her team back,” Clary said.
Eichten described her experience as CSUN as a very positive one and said she will miss the sheer craziness of dropping everything and managing problems in her position as director of finance and administrative services in ITR.
As Clouse retires, Eichten is poised to take on her responsibilities as the new director of budget planning and management.
“She’s going to do an excellent job (which I can say) having worked with and for her,” Clary said. “We’re going to miss Ron, he was just so wonderful, but I know that Sharon will step right up to the plate.”