The University of Maryland system is preparing to abolish the jobs of two of its five vice chancellors, taking the first steps to follow legislators' orders to trim its large central administration.

Eliminating the two positions is the harbinger of what is expected to be a massive reorganization of the central office for Maryland's network of 11 colleges and universities.

The Board of Regents, which governs the university, is scheduled to consider early next month the advice of an outside management consultant, which is finishing a six-month study of how the university could run more efficiently.

The regents commissioned the $224,000 study in response to widespread frustration in the Maryland General Assembly, which revamped the state's higher education system two years ago.

Legislators have been exasperated that, as the duties of the central administration have dwindled, its size has not. That frustration contributed to legislative cuts in state aid to the university for the coming year.

According to a university spokeswoman, Acting Chancellor James A. Norton has told the vice chancellors for governmental relations and for planning and policy that their jobs were recommended to be abolished. Each has had a salary this year of approximately $99,000.