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May 23, 2003

Council seeks solutions to compensation issues

by Anne Krapfl
During its May 1 meeting, the Professional and Scientific Council ranked options for the next ISU academic calendar, elected new officers and agreed to forward to top university administrators a committee report that studies the pattern of salary overlap between P&S and merit employees.

President Gregory Geoffroy asked for the council's ranking of four academic calendar proposals (A, B, C and D) developed by an ad hoc committee. A private ballot ranking by the 29 council members present was counted and averaged, and the council sent this ranking to Geoffroy:
  • 1st choice: A (mirrors the current calendar)
  • 2nd choice: B (extends winter break 1 week and class period 5 minutes)
  • 3rd choice: D (extends winter break 1 week, shortens summer interval 1 week)
  • 4th choice: C (extends winter break 2 weeks and class period 5 minutes)
Elected to one-year officer terms on the council were: (president) Kevin Kane, Academic Information Technologies; (vice president) Lynne Mumm, ISU Research Foundation; (secretary/treasurer) Brenda Van Beek, natural resource ecology and management; and (executive committee at-large members) Trevor Riedemann, Ames Lab, and Dan Woodin, Administrative Data Processing.

Salary issues
A report, prepared by members of the council's compensation and benefits committee, identifies several perceived inequities between salary and benefits of P&S and merit staff. They include:
  • The number of P&S staff who supervise merit staff with higher salaries is increasing.
  • The current trend of merit staff receiving higher annual salary increases than P&S staff will compound this problem.
  • Managers are unable to reward superior performance or adjust salary inequities within departments during the annual review process.
  • P&S employees are asked to cover a greater share of the increasing cost of employee health care benefits than merit staff, thus reducing their net income.
  • In many cases, P&S employees receive lower salaries than merit employees in comparable classification groups, despite having higher levels of responsibility.
The committee's recommendation is a review, with statistical data, to determine the pervasiveness of these patterns. The committee also recommends that directors, department chairs and deans receive "greater latitude" during annual salary adjustments to recognize exemplary job performance, and that, beginning in FY05, Iowa State's annual P&S salary report list aggregate salary increases by grade and classification.

The report was forwarded to the offices of the president, vice president for business and finance, vice president for academic affairs and provost, and assistant vice president for human resource services, with a request for a response from at least one office within two months.

New members will be seated at the council's next meeting, which begins at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 5, in the Memorial Union Cardinal Room.

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