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July 9, 2009

Provost nixes SAC proposal

The Staff Association Council’s (SAC) proposal that the senior administration offer non-monetary compensation alternatives for staff in lieu of salary raises for fiscal year 2010 has been rejected.

In March, Chancellor Mark Nordenberg announced there would be no increase in the salary pool in FY10, which began July 1. Last month, SAC’s salary and job classification committee wrote to Provost James V. Maher, who chairs the University Planning and Budgeting Committee. UPBC, which is composed of administrators, faculty, staff and students, annually makes recommendations to the chancellor on salary and other budget issues.

The letter, endorsed by SAC’s membership, called for non-monetary compensation alternatives for staff, such as providing additional personal days or adding to the number of holidays. The request stipulated that any non-monetary incentive would be for FY10 only.

In response to a query by the University Times, Maher this week provided a
written response to SAC’s proposal. Maher stated, in part, “UPBC includes representation from SAC and always has been willing to consider the advice it receives from SAC. …

“Throughout this very challenging year, our schools and support units have been rethinking their budgets and reallocating their staff assignments to allow them to deliver optimum results. … The institution-wide planning done at the level of the UPBC has been grounded in the belief that the University’s staffing is lean and that preserving staff positions, to the extent that is financially possible, should be a priority.

“The possibility that non-monetary incentives might be offered in a year when salaries have been frozen has a certain surface appeal. However, it also can be seen as suggesting that the University does not need the full effort of its existing staff. Not only is that the wrong message to be delivering at a time when so many people have lost their jobs, but it is inconsistent with the reality that all of us probably will need to work even harder during these extraordinarily difficult times.”

As the University Times went to press, SAC President Gwen Watkins was unavailable for comment.

—Peter Hart

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