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CSULB finds new leadership in Scott Apel

When Scott Apel first stepped onto campus sometime in the late ‘80s, he was a psychology major. Last month, he was named the new Vice President of Administration and Finance.

President Jane Close Conoley appointed Apel to his new position Dec. 21 of last year. Apel fell in love with the campus while he worked as the VP of human resources, a position he held for 12 years. Additionally, Apel completed his psychology undergraduate degree in 1991 and his public administration graduate degree in 2009 at Cal State Long Beach.

“You’d expect the [human resources] guy to be negative about our employees,” Apel said. “But we have a wonderful group of people that are committed to the students and school. The thing about being in human resources is the entire campus is your customer.”

Coming from his position in HR, Apel’s connections to other departments run deep.

He recognizes that every problem comes down to finding the right people for the job.

“Even though it’s a mechanical breakdown, it’s people that are going to solve the problem.” he said.

He describes his goals as “grounded,” considering that more than 40,000 students and faculty members come to campus everyday. Apel will be receiving an annual VP salary of $240,000.

President Conoley marked Apel’s experience in all areas of Administration and Finance as proving his fitness for the job:

  • Budget and University Services
  • Enrollment Services
  • Financial Management
  • Human Resources
  • Physical Planning and Facilities
  • University Police

“He has been an objective and informed adviser, cares deeply about the success of our diverse student body and our university and can take on daunting challenges.” Conoley said in a press release.

The previous VP, Mary Stephens, left some big shoes to fill according to California Faculty Association President Douglas Foraste.

“She was the only administrator that actually listened and thought about what you said,” Foraste said.

Before Stephens retired last year, she saw Apel’s ability to delegate as key to his success after working with him for ten years.

“If you can only work with individuals and not make teams, the job becomes very difficult,” Stephens said.

Being at the will of the chancellor’s office presents challenges inherent to administration and finance, Stephens pointed out. Administration and finance’s main obstacle is implementing the chancellor’s budgeting decisions while having no vote.

She pointed to Apel’s deep knowledge of the Long Beach’s staff and departments as an arrow in his quiver to influence budgeting decisions, one that an outside hire wouldn’t have.

“Scott has an excellent reputation at the chancellor’s office, they won’t only solicit his advice but they will listen.” Stephens said.

Jerry Brown’s proposed budget, which was less than the Cal State University system asked for, presents new budget management challenges for 2018.

Apel also pointed toward cost from mandatory pay increases in faculty and labor contracts as adding another dimension to the conundrum in the proposed budget.

“We have to find a way to pay those contracts regardless of what the governor gives us.” Apel said.

The absence of contingencies for the Cal State University budget in those mandatory pay increase ups the challenge in delivering the budget which may impact students through fee increases.

Governor Brown will be putting out a revised version of the final budget in May.

“We’re hoping, through advocacy, we will get a little more from the budget after the May revise, but it’s out of our control,” Apel said.

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