Eye On Boise

UI to review staff salaries, equity

The University of Idaho is launching a review into staff salaries, according to a memo sent to employees, with the goal of making its compensation policies more equitable and understandable, the Associated Press reports. A faculty group recently complained about hefty raises awarded to some administrators and staff, but university spokeswoman Karen Hunt said the review into staff salaries is not related to concerns raised by the Idaho Federation of Teachers. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Jessie Bonner.

University of Idaho to study staff salaries
By JESSIE L. BONNER, Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The University of Idaho is launching a review into staff salaries with the goal of adopting more equitable and understandable compensation policies by next July, according to a memo sent to employees earlier this week.

The study is being launched after a faculty group recently complained about hefty raises awarded to some administrators and staff, but university spokeswoman Karen Hunt said Wednesday the review into staff salaries is not related to concerns from the Idaho Federation of Teachers.

"The study is completely independent of the complaints," Hunt said.

In the union's most recent newsletter, president Nick Gier complained that while university employees are receiving a 2 percent raise following several years of stagnant salaries, some administrators and staff are receiving that pay bump and then some.

Gier, a retired philosophy professor, cited university budget documents, saying three deans received additional 10.2 percent, 8.5 percent and 3 percent raises, while the provost's administrative assistant got a 9.4 percent pay increase, and school counsel received a 3 percent pay boost.

The university's human rights officer received a 12 percent raise while the director of development received a 6.6 percent increase this year, said Gier, who argued that the "under the table" pay raises should have been discussed with faculty.

"We're not complaining about these people getting raises, but let's discuss it openly," Gier told The Associated Press.

The university didn't dispute Gier's numbers.

The salary study will look only at staff salaries, not faculty compensation, and was announced Monday in a memo from the school's executive director for human resources, Greg Walters. The university is bringing on a human resources consulting firm that specializes in higher education issues to assist with the project, Walters said.

Sibson Consulting's work with the university will begin later this week.

"We anticipate an implementation of the new classification and compensation systems on July 1, 2013," Walters said in the memo.

University of Idaho President Duane Nellis has previously raised concerns about losing top faculty and staff because of salaries. Nellis told lawmakers in January that most employees on the Moscow campus haven't had a raise in four years and boosting compensation was his top priority.

"It is really hard to keep talented people that are beneficial to the university if we can't compensate them according," Hunt said.

The Idaho Legislature approved a 2 percent, across-the-board raise for state workers meeting performance standards, giving universities about 60 percent of the money necessary to fund the salary increases. The University of Idaho has said it will use money from a tuition increase this year to help pay for the rest of the 2 percent pay raise.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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