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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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3/9/2011 10:07:00 PM
Yavapai College VP explains RIFs, salary increases

Paula Rhoden
The Daily Courier

One week after Yavapai College officials announced plans to cut $3.4 million from its 2011-12 budget, 15 staff and faculty members received notification that the college was eliminating their jobs.

During the week followings its Feb. 7 news conference, college officials eliminated the following positions: two deans, five administrative assistants, one coach, three coordinators, three tech specialists and one probationary faculty.

On Monday, Clint Ewell, vice president of finance and administration, explained that the reductions in force took effect immediately. He indicated that keeping people on until the end of the school year would create an unpleasant work environment.

In addition to RIFing 15 positions, the college eliminated 10 positions that were currently vacant. These positions included a nursing clinical educator, the student affairs coordinator, a receptionist at the Verde Valley campus, an administrative assistant position in Sedona, a resident hall director, three faculty members and two facilities employees. The college also moved three division deans to other positions and reduced five employees from full-time to part-time.

As the college reduced its workforce, it adjusted the salaries for staff members who would be taking on additional hours and workloads.

Ewell explained that during the school year, staff members would work 40 hours per week, an increase from the current 37 hours. During the summer, staff hours would decrease from 35 hours to 32 hours per week.

To compensate for the increased hours, the college will provide a 3.6 percent wage increase for staff members. Ewell said exempt employees would see an increase in their base pay, while non-exempt employees would see the increase in the additional hours they work.

Ewell noted that the purpose of the staff increase is to ensure that the college comes out of the declining economic circumstance with "a strong institution. While some schools are not keeping up with market conditions, we want to make sure we are and that we are not in a position to be 'raided.'"

The college is giving faculty members a 4.1 percent increase. Ewell noted that the college is eliminating the workload calculator, which pays faculty members for extra duties.

Human Resources Director Rose Hurley explained that the workload calculator or "overload calculator is an electronic vehicle" used to determine compensation when faculty members work/teach more than their contracted credit amount.

The college will now roll those stipends into faculty salaries.

Basically, the college is trading non-teaching duty stipends for a step increase in base salaries.

The money for the staff and faculty increases comes from existing salary and benefit dollars.

The college sent letters to 11 faculty members outlining options for early retirement. Ewell noted that, under this early retirement option, faculty could not take advantage of a third-party contract to return to work for at least one year.

Yavapai College employees will also see a change in their vacation options. Instead of scheduling their time off - 10 to 15 days - throughout the year, employees will have five to 10 days to schedule. The other five days will be converted to the winter break.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: To Elayne Hayes

The average work week has increased signficantly for all non-governmental employees. Almost all these employees are on salary and do not get compensated for the additional hours. The average annual hours are 2200-2400 per year which includes at least 10%-20% overtime for salaried employees. Similarly, YC employees wages are equivalent to similar salaried employees and should not get additional compensation. I doubt they are working more than 2400 hours per year. I agree that no raises were due.

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: Staff Answers

The non-exempt staff did NOT get a wage increase. Our wages (and only ours) remain the same. Because we are hourly employees, we will see more pay commensurate with the additional hours that we work (wouldn't you expect to be paid for additional hours you work if you were paid by the hour?). In the summer, our hours will be cut by 20% and we will bring home 20% less pay (the exempt staff gets to keep 100% pay for 80% hours - nice work if you can get it). Further, we all regularly work non-compensated hours because that is what we have to do to get our jobs done – additional hours are not “approved” but without them baseline services do not go forward. We have already taken on so much additional work through attrition of positions that have not been replaced and will not be replaced. In addition, we are NEVER eligible for a merit increase: regardless of how well we perform or poorly we perform, we all get the same cost of living increase - when it is available (demoralizing if you're a hard worker, no?). We are going on our fourth or fifth year without a wage increase.
Raises have been given out in the past several years - the President is one of those who has received raises and bonuses. Sr. Level Management has turned over recently and one can assume that those positions now carry higher salary load. Only the lowest paid employees have been asked to truly hold the line and take summer pay cuts commensurate with the hours/week cut. Everyone else will be paid 100% for 80% hours in the Summer (isn’t that a raise?).
Remember, when you call in to complain, to ask to be transferred to management, those of us answering the phones have already given at the office.

Posted: Thursday, March 10, 2011
Article comment by: Elayne Hayes

The so called staff increase was an increase in hours. Our hourly rate will not increase! In fact with 40 hours academic year and 32 hours summer, our salary will not increase either. To say that we received a 3.6% increase is "funny math".
Employees were not given a say in this - most employees would have preferred a cut in pay and keep the jobs. After all this is "right-to-work" state and the administration can do whatever they want with our salaries, benefits, and working hours.

Posted: Thursday, March 10, 2011
Article comment by: Knot A. Fan

As a retired person on social security only, I can't feel sorry for anyone in public employment who has seen increases in the past three years. The college has the ability to increase by 2% it's tax on property owners without county oversight. That becomes a higher cost to each property owner in the county. To pass out wage increases at this time is wrong.

Posted: Thursday, March 10, 2011
Article comment by: Answer This

How many programs/services/positions could have been saved without providing raises in salary for staff and faculty at this time? Also, staff hours are increased 3 hrs. in spring and fall, and decreased 3 hrs. in summer, so that makes that justification basically a moot point. To provide raises during a time when so much has been eliminated, which affect the community, students, and individuals' lives who lost their jobs (income, insurance, retirement, etc.), is callous it almost seems like an attempt to buy the loyalty of the remaining staff and faculty, who were devastated by all the cuts and whose workloads will increase due to the cuts. No employee would have expected an increase at this time. How much do the increases cost in comparison to the 3.4 million that was cut in the budget?

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