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August 29, 2013

Salary hike: 1.5% for satisfactory performance

Pitt’s announced 2.5 percent salary pool increase will be distributed 1.5 percent for salary maintenance for employees whose work has been assessed as satisfactory and 1 percent for merit, market and equity adjustments at the unit level.

Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg announced the distribution as part of a University Update on Pitt’s 2014 budget.

In the July 30 update, he commented: “Though modest, this pool is larger than most involved in the budget-building process anticipated would be possible under existing circumstances. In that sense, it does clearly recognize that this is an institution driven by the talent and commitment of its faculty and staff.

A portion of the distribution typically is designated for senior officers to address imbalances among the various units that report to them. Instead, the chancellor chose to use money that would have gone into that part of the pool to increase the salary maintenance component, he stated.

The chancellor’s July 30 update on Pitt’s 2014 budget is posted at

The University Senate budget policies committee (BPC), which provides input to the chancellor as part of the budget process, this year accepted the University planning and budgeting committee’s (UPBC) recommendations, with the stipulation that if additional funds were available, the dollars should go toward salary maintenance, said BPC co-chair John J. Baker. “I was very pleased that occurred,” he said.

Baker declined to elaborate on UPBC’s recommendation. UPBC meetings are not open to the public and its budget recommendations have not been made public.

He commended the chancellor for striving to bolster the salary maintenance component as much as possible in a difficult budget year.

However, “even at 1.5 percent it’s still below the inflation rate,” Baker noted. Inflation in 2012 was 1.7 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Staff Association Council President Rich Colwell told the University Times that even with the pay increases, many employees are losing financial ground. “I would say that a pay raise of 2.5 percent for lower-income staff would not offset the skyrocketing increases in health care,” Colwell said, citing recent hikes in Pitt employee health plans. In addition to increased copays and prescription drug costs, Pitt health plan premiums went up $7-$9 per month this year. (See May 2 University Times.)

“There has to be a way in salary increases that staff paychecks see an increase over the years. We watch the University raise tuition every year to cover their cost increases and at the same time staff don’t have the option to increase their paychecks to cover their household increases,” Colwell said.

Salary increases, retroactive to the July 1 start of the fiscal year, will appear in September paychecks, said John Fedele of the Office of University Communications.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 46 Issue 1

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