On Thursday, the University appointed an executive director to run the Shared Services Center that will consolidate some University support staff into a central location near Wolverine Tower.

The center is part of the University’s larger Administrative Services Transformation, a cost containment measure aiming to save $120 million from fiscal years 2013 to 2017.

Pamela Gabel, current director of My Service Center, a division of the building supplier Masco Corporation that employees 15,000 people, will head the 275-person staff at the shared services center when it opens in August. She will begin her role on April 28.

Al Franzblau, vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs, said in a University press release that over 70 applicants were considered for the job. He added that the search and selection processes included faculty and staff feedback.

“Our selection process included bringing finalists to campus to make presentations and take questions from audiences that included staff from the project team, administrators from academic units and central offices, faculty members and some of the future staff members of the Shared Services Center,” Franzblau said. “Their collective guidance was very important to the final selection of our service center’s leader.”

The Shared Services Center is slated to open in August with a small number of staff. The center will be fully staffed and at operational capacity by winter 2015.

Over the course of the center’s planning period, there has been significant controversy regarding its implementation. In November and December, staff and faculty spoke out strongly against the University’s handling of the project. A petition that circulated the faculty community garnered 1,169 signatures.

In response, the University engaged faculty and staff with five forums discussing how they would like business to be carried out at the new center.

After replacing former AST leader Rowan Miranda, who is departing for a position at the University of Chicago, Thom Madden, the University’s director of sponsored programs, took the reigns of the initiative. He said the forums emphasized that the center should have staff with specific unit expertise.

“Faculty members in particular have told us they don’t want to lose the nuanced knowledge of unit staff, and this is an important part of our planning process going forward,” Madden said in a release.

Gabel was unavailable for comment Thursday afternoon.

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