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September 11, 2008

BPC may review procedures for appeal of pay hike decisions

If you’re not happy with your salary increase, your responsibility center should have a procedure by which you can ask that your salary be reconsidered. But not every Pitt unit has such procedures, the University Senate budget policies committee (BPC) has discovered.

The committee also has found that Pitt’s 1994 salary policy 07-09-01 gives BPC joint responsibility for monitoring and reporting on implementation of the policy.

In the committee’s first meeting of the new academic year, held Sept. 5, BPC chair Richard Pratt said that a question from a faculty member regarding the procedure for questioning a pay raise drew his attention to BPC’s role in monitoring the implementation of the University’s salary increase policy, which includes the requirement that each responsibility center have procedures by which employees can seek reconsideration of salary decisions.

The final section of the University policy states that BPC and the Staff Association Council, in consultation with the provost and the appropriate senior vice chancellor, “will monitor the implementation of this policy and report on that implementation annually to the University Senate and the Staff Association Council.”

According to SAC President Rich Colwell, SAC’s focus in monitoring the implementation of the policy is mainly through its seats on the University’s Planning and Budgeting Committee, which recommends compensation increases to the chancellor as part of the University’s planning and budgeting system. Colwell said he and SAC’s other two representatives to UPBC regularly attend and actively participate in UPBC meetings, particularly on issues of the salary policy, but do not make public reports on UPBC’s closed sessions.

Several BPC members volunteered their experience with the notification policy: Paula Sherwood of the School of Nursing said members of her department receive a letter advising them that their pay raise notices will be arriving and informing them of the steps to follow if they wish to appeal.

At Pitt-Greensburg, said UPG psychology faculty member Daniel Milberg, information on the appeal process is included with employees’ pay raise notices.

Pratt noted, given that he had been approached by a faculty member who did not know how to address a pay raise issue, “at least one unit is unaware of the procedure.” He declined to name the department.

No formal action was taken at the Sept. 5 meeting, but BPC is considering contacting each unit, either directly or through Pitt’s administration, to request details on its process.

Pratt noted that BPC also has a mandated role in the University’s planning and budgetary system (PBS). The PBS document, available at, states in part that BPC “is responsible for reviewing whether the PBS processes are followed and whether all constituencies involved are provided adequate opportunities to participate in the process and to be informed of its outcomes.”

The PBS also directs that BPC “regularly inform all unit heads and all members of [academic responsibility center planning and budgeting committees] of its role in reviewing the integrity of the planning and budgeting process.”

At one time, Pratt said, BPC gave notice annually inviting the University community to contact the committee if there were problems to be addressed, but adherence to the practice has “atrophied” in recent years.

Pratt said proposals for action on both committee responsibilities would be developed and presented at the committee’s next meeting Oct. 3.

— Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 41 Issue 2

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