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July 20, 2006

Pay raised 1.75 % for satisfactory performance

A 3.25 percent increase in Pitt’s fiscal year 2007 salary pool was part of the operating budget approved July 14 by the Board of Trustees. (See related story.)

Of the total salary pool increase, 1.75 percent will be designated for salary maintenance for employees whose work performance has been rated at least satisfactory; 1 percent for merit, market and equity adjustments at the unit level, and 0.5 percent centrally allocated to address market and equity imbalances.

The raise components were announced by Chancellor Mark Nordenberg in a campus update distributed July 19.

Salary increases for faculty and staff will appear in September paychecks, retroactive to July 1.

While the compensation pool increase was higher than the 3 percent of recent years, it was lower than the Staff Association Council (SAC) wanted.

“The Staff Association Council made a recommendation of a minimum increase of 4 percent this year,” stated SAC President Richard Colwell. “This recommendation was based upon factors such as current Consumer Price Index increases and the undeniable contributions its high-performing staff members make toward the mission and success of the University. However, SAC accepts that the University has budget limitations. We were particularly glad that the 0.25 percent added to the salary pool falls in the ‘meets standards’ component because that will benefit the greatest number of staff and will help counterbalance rising inflation.”

University Senate President John J. Baker commented, “Pitt’s FY07 budget is a realistic balance between keeping tuition increases at a manageable level, giving faculty and staff a moderate pay increase and meeting other rising costs. Chancellor Nordenberg deserves a lot of credit in recent years for keeping salary pool increases at a reasonable level despite cuts and freezes in the state appropriation.”

On the other hand, Baker expressed disappointment that the 1.75 percent increase for satisfactory job performance lagged significantly behind the inflation rate, which, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, was 3.5 percent for calendar year 2005.

Baker said, “Inflation this year is going to be well above the 1.75 percent of the salary pool allocated for maintenance of salary. I want to remind everyone that most [Pitt] schools have extra salary pool funds that can be distributed to individuals.”

Those extra funds come from money designated for unfilled positions and from the portion of the salary pool that is distributed centrally. Distribution of the extra funds typically results in an average salary increase for most units that is about 1 percent higher than the salary pool increase, the Senate president said.

“I hope deans and other administrators will take this into account when deciding individual pay raises this year,” Baker said.

In this week’s campus update, the chancellor said he veered from the recommendations of the University planning and budgeting committee (UPBC) and the University Senate budget policies committee, both of which in confidence recommended a 3 percent salary pool increase.

Nordenberg wrote, “The UPBC did express concern over the adequacy of its recommended 3 percent salary increase pool. The Senate budget policies committee … expressed its support [for] the 3 percent increase pool … while also recommending ‘that a larger salary pool should be the first priority if additional revenues can be developed.’”

Since the state boosted Pitt’s education and general budget appropriation by 4.5 percent, “a somewhat larger increase in state support” than the 4 percent recommended by the governor, Nordenberg decided to add 0.25 percent to the salary pool.

“In the end, though the dollars required significantly exceeded the half-percent increase in our state appropriation, we found a way both to reduce the percentage increases to our tuition to their lowest levels in years and to also add an additional 0.25 percent to the salary increase pool,” the chancellor wrote.

—Peter Hart

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