Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D. - 3/20/08
Addressing Salary Issues
In our supplemental budget request to the legislature, WSU requested funding to address ongoing faculty and staff salary issues.
Unfortunately, the legislature did not fund our request. But the concerns are so pressing that neither I nor my administrative team believe that simply maintaining the status quo is a viable option.
So, we are addressing the issue in another way. As a result of other budget reductions, administrative cuts and streamlining, we plan to supplement the 2 percent pay increase provided by the state to administrative professionals, faculty and graduate students with an additional 2 percent, effective Sept. 1.
I greatly appreciate the efforts around the university that went into this initiative. The belt-tightening that occurred in every department was painful, but necessary.
Why are we doing this? To attract and retain the best personnel, the university must pay competitive salaries. Achieving our goals of becoming a preeminent public research university depends on our ability to bring outstanding faculty and staff to our campuses.
It is not just a matter of paying adequate salaries to bring in new employees. Increasingly, we are also dealing with issues of salary compression or inversion. When we seek to hire people in high-demand fields, we sometimes find that we must offer salaries higher than those paid to people who have done good work for our university for years.
In the most recent biennial budget, several legislative changes were made for civil service and bargaining unit positions. These same changes were not made for administrative professional positions. As a result, WSU salaries for many administrative professional positions lag salaries paid for similar positions that are part of the civil service systems. Also as a result, salaries for exempt supervisors may be less than the salaries of the civil service positions they supervise. This is neither equitable nor sustainable over the long run.
I am requesting that each department head use this 4 percent salary pool as a tool to address the most serious compression or inversion concerns. The goal is not to provide across-the-board raises, but instead to provide higher salaries based on performance and market demand.
Faculty salary increases will be handled through the procedure outlined in the Faculty Manual.
Any great university depends on the efforts of great employees. I strongly believe that those employees must be fairly compensated, and this is an important step in that direction.