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July 25, 2013

2.5% salary pool hike approved for FY2014

In what has been anticipated as a difficult budget year, a 2.5 percent salary pool increase has been approved by Pitt trustees as part of Pitt’s fiscal year 2014 operating budget.

As of press time Wednesday, Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg had not announced how the salary pool would be distributed.

Typically the pool is divided with portions allocated for salary maintenance for employees whose work has been assessed as satisfactory; for merit, market and equity adjustments at the unit level, and for distribution by senior officers to address imbalances among the various units that report to them.

The increase for the last fiscal year was 3 percent, which was distributed 1.5 percent for salary maintenance; 1 percent for merit, market and equity adjustments, and 0.5 percent to address imbalances among units. (See July 26, 2012, University Times.)

In a prepared statement, Nordenberg commented: “This year’s modest salary-increase pool, crafted in times that continue to be very challenging, reinforces the fact that our people are a high priority.”

Nordenberg cited pay freezes in FY10 and FY12 and staff reductions due to the voluntary early retirement program. He commended University employees, stating, “The University’s remarkable record of progress is obviously a reflection of the significant role that faculty and staff play at Pitt. They have made salary sacrifices in recent years and are forging ahead with substantially reduced numbers.”

The increase has left faculty and staff representatives pleasantly surprised.

Monica Costlow, vice president of the Staff Association Council, told the University Times: “SAC applauds the officers and board for continued recognition of staff and faculty merits as evidenced by the unveiling of the 2013-2014 operating budget. In the past several years, employees in all sectors of the nation’s economy have experienced the effects of the prolonged recession. The University of Pittsburgh’s staff were no exception.

“Many respected staff members departed in connection with the voluntary early retirement program. While SAC laments the loss of those individuals and their contribution to the University community, SAC believes that the recently announced salary-increase pool amounts to a renewed commitment by the University to the recruitment, development and retention of its staff.  SAC is grateful for that commitment, which demonstrates the University of Pittsburgh’s partnership with staff and continued growth as a leader in higher education.”

John J. Baker, co-chair of the University Senate’s budget policies committee, commented: “The 2.5 percent salary pool increase is higher than I was expecting and is good news for faculty and staff because it is as high as we could have hoped under this year’s budget constraints and the low 3.25 percent tuition increase. Given the circumstances, everyone should be satisfied with this result.”

Michael Spring, University Senate president, took note that the chancellor, in his comments, credited the entire Pitt team for their efforts in a difficult year: “I am sure faculty and staff appreciate this acknowledgement.”

Commenting on the salary pool and the budget, Spring, who took office July 1, told the University Times: “As a novice in budget and policy matters at this level, and while the financial situation remains challenging, I would note three things about this year’s final decision: First, the senior administration is continuing to put a high priority on keeping salaries at a level that allows us to attract high quality faculty and staff.

“Second, by keeping the increase in tuition costs low, we should continue to be able to attract higher quality students.

“Thirdly, the University has again increased the pool of financial aid money, which should enable us to keep the actual costs of a Pitt education, at least for selected students, at close to what it has been in the past.”

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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