May 13, 2010

Council learns more about salary increases, position cuts

by Erin Rosacker

Executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman told the professional and scientific council at its May 6 meeting that salary guidelines for the FY11 budget were "a little bit confusing," and likely will be revised. Although post docs and graduate assistants were included on a list of externally funded positions eligible to receive salary increases, P&S staff were not.

"That was an oversight on our part," she said. "It was not our intention to specifically leave out P&S on grants."

When the general fund does not include new funds for salary increases, Hoffman said salary increases for externally funded employees is a "serious issue."

"There's no question that it constitutes a challenge for units that have both self-funding and general funds, as to how to be equitable in the distribution of salary increases when there is a very limited pool on one side and there may be built-in salary increases on the other," she said.

Looking ahead, Hoffman said university leaders don't anticipate that the state legislature will approve a salary appropriation for FY12. However, she said the administration is building in a "modest" salary increase for employees as it plans for FY12.

"One of the reasons that you're seeing significant budget cuts within units that may appear to be larger than would be necessary, given the FY11 budget, is that they are preparing for the need to give a salary increase and overall compensation increases in FY12."

Staff reductions

Brenda Behling, assistant to the executive vice president and provost, said it is too early to know the number of staff reductions that will result from budget plans submitted by campus units. She said about half of the plans have been approved by the provost and human resource services, but some restructuring and staff notices have begun. Reduction plans that involve merit positions also must be approved by the state Board of Regents and the governor's office.

"Where those restructuring plans are developed -- they include either reduction for staff positions or full position eliminations -- at the current time, it looks like the impact to merit and P&S is about equal, as far as the numbers go," Behling said.

Other business

Robin McNeely was relected as secretary/treasurer of the council for 2010-11; Trevor Riedemann was elected vice president for university planning and budget; and Amy Delashmutt was elected vice president for community relations.

A motion to amend a pair of council bylaws was introduced. The changes would fix election irregularities and add a representative from the council's compensation and benefits committee to the council's university planning and budget committee.

Council members also learned:

  • P&S employees must be at the P37 level of the new compensation structure to serve as principle investigators (Behling said a few extension titles would be eligible at level P36)
  • 94 applications for the second retirement incentive option (RIO2) have been approved (47 merit, 30 P&S and 17 faculty)
  • A Q&A document (PDF) about the RIO3 program is available on the HRS website
  • The university benefits committee will survey employees this summer about the current benefits package and potential changes