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June 24, 1999

Staff still awaiting details of July 1 classification plan

Staff still awaiting details of July 1 classification plan

Pitt staff are still wait- ing to learn details of the new classification plan, which is to be implemented next week.

Human Resources officials announced the plan last fall and outlined it generally at a staff assembly June 8.

Excluding unionized employees and some upper-administration staff who are not covered by the plan, about 4,500 staff positions at the Pittsburgh campus are affected, Human Resources officials said. Staff at the four regional campuses also will be covered by the plan.

Ron Frisch, associate vice chancellor for Human Resources, said staff will get information on the plan — a brochure and personalized statement — following dissemination to supervisors and administrators.

"Human Resources expects to begin the dissemination of this information no later than early next week," Frisch told the University Times June 22. The material is being printed, he said.

"There will be a series of departmental meetings within the next couple of weeks that will thoroughly explain the new system, complete with the video that we showcased at the [June 8 Staff Association Council] assembly," Frisch said.

The personalized statements are a summary of a staff member's current classification, new classification name, new job family, annual salary and salary range for the new classification.

Additionally, all supervisors involved in salary decisions will get printed salary administration guidelines, Frisch said.

Effective July 1, nearly all Pitt staff positions will be placed in one of a new set of classifications, called job families, with new pay ranges and probable new working titles. Salaries for about 125 staffers will be raised to the minimum pay range of the newly assigned job family, Frisch said.

But there will be no changes in job responsibilities or job descriptions, no salary reductions and no salary caps for staff approaching maximum pay ranges in their new classification, according to Human Resources.

"The advantage of this new system is that it is evolutionary and has flexibility to both grow with the University and, on an ongoing basis, address the many unique situations that cover the entire staff population," Frisch said.

Staff Association Council (SAC) president Rich Colwell said SAC officers have been seeing confidential drafts of the plan since March.

But he stopped short of endorsing the plan.

Colwell said, "The SAC officers have participated in discussions with Human Resources regarding the salary guidelines administration section and we await the final copy. We are cautiously optimistic about this part of the new classification system. SAC officers are committed to reviewing and, when appropriate, challenging the various components of the plan. We feel confident that, should any issues arise, Human Resources will be more than willing to receive our additional input," he said.

Colwell had spoken against the possibility of long-term staff being capped at a maximum range and unable to receive full salary raises under the new plan. See University Times June 10.

Executive Vice Chancellor Jerome Cochran told the June 8 assembly that staff who are at 90 percent or above their new pay range will be grandfathered and not subject to the maximum for the range.

However, promoted or transferring staff (including a lateral-position move), as well as staff who leave Pitt and return, will lose their grandfathered status, he said.

At the plan's implementation, only about 5 percent of all staff will be earning 90 percent or more of their maximum range, Human Resources officials said.

Frisch told SAC June 9 that pay ranges will be evaluated each year based on job market comparisons and will go up annually, ensuring that no staff member will reach the maximum, at least for five years. "We will be evaluating this system on an ongoing basis," Frisch said.

Human Resources officials recommend that questions about a staff member's individual pay be directed to that person's supervisor.

People with questions about the staff classification system should call 648-2067. A classification informational web site ( and e-mail address ( are expected to be in operation soon after details of the classification plan are disseminated to staff.

— Peter Hart

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