Tuesday, November 17, 2009

President Smatresk agrees to greater faculty involvement in monitoring salaries

Today at the UNLV Faculty Senate meeting, UNLV President Neal Smatresk addressed the issues raised by the Joint Evaluation Team concerning raises to administrative personnel in Student Services.

He was questioned about the procedures that led to these raises and hires and about the criteria that may have been used to determine salary levels and raises. Comparisons were made between the rigorous process through faculty must pass in order to achieve promotion or merit pay raises and the process by which a few administrative personnel were granted raises of greater than 20%.

Prior to the meeting, the Faculty Senate and UNLV Faculty Alliance had called upon the President to respond to this news by agreeing to the principles set forth in the AAUP's resolution on faculty involvement in budgeting during the financial crisis. In short, these principles call upon administrations to share financial information with appropriate faculty bodies to ensure careful oversight of strategic priorities, and to consult actively with faculty leadership in financial planning decisions.

Today President Smatresk, to his credit and in a clear step forward for shared governance at UNLV, agreed that these principles would address the issues raised by these revelations and could help us avoid such problems in the future. He agreed that from this point forward, the administration will

1. "give a quarterly report of raises to the Faculty Senate Fiscal Affairs Committee" and "Freeze Committee" (ie, the joint administrative/ faculty ad hoc committee which oversees the current "soft hiring freeze" and must approve all new positions during the freeze).

2. "issue a quarterly report to the System on raises and compensation" to be shared with the Senate Fiscal Affairs Committee.

3. engage with the Faculty Senate Fiscal Affairs and Executive Committees "to discuss contingency planning for budget cuts for the remainder of this biennium and the upcoming one."

We applaud the JET (and specifically NFA members Brian Spangelo and Paul Traudt on that committee) for bringing this issue to the Senate and President Smatresk for recognizing the larger issue at stake here. The end result, we believe, will be an enhancement of shared governance and as a result more careful oversight and more careful attention to the salary budget in these times of shortage.

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