Frozen salaries begin to thaw

Jan. 20, 2012

April Wefler
awefler@uccs.edu

The economy might still be in a recession, but after years of stagnant salaries, the University was able to allocate enough funds to give raises to a select few.

In April of last year, the University met its budget target for the first time in three years. Vice Chancellor Brian Burnett explained that there are more students now than three years ago, and this helps out financially.

But it wasn’t just an increase in the number of students that allowed for more money in the budget. There was also an end to two years of general salary freezes that had been caused by Colorado’s budget situation.

“Many employees are making less than they did three years ago,” said Burnett. He added that some employees might now be making the same because of a 2-3 percent increase.

That increase is due to certain employee bonuses – or, as Burnett referred to them, a non-base building award.

The Board of Regents approved a non-base building award back in April, but they weren’t administered until last October. The University wasn’t able to give the award to every employee.

There are four different types of campus employees: classified employees, exempt professionals, faculty members and student workers. Classified employees, such as groundskeepers and custodians, are governed by the state and comprise a third of the campus workforce.

Out of the four groups, only classified employees were eligible for the non-base building award. The ratings from the employees’ latest performance evaluations determined if they received the pay raise.

Classified employees with a rating of two or three were rewarded with a 3 percent pay increase. If an employee was given a one, it indicated that he or she needed improvement.

Burnett mentioned that there were very few ones. A two rating meant that the employee met expectations and if the employee received a three, he or she exceeded expectations.

Out of the employees who earned two or three, some received a 3 percent increase and some received more than 3 percent, depending on performance. The campus had to stay within the 3 percent pool allotted to them.

Burnett mentioned that the raises were given because the campus has to take care of its people.

“When you think of a campus, a lot of people think buildings, grounds. I would suggest that the most valuable resource of UCCS is our people,” said Burnett.

He added that the people are the reason that students come back to class and feel safe. “We lose sight of what our most valuable asset is. Our most valuable asset is our people,” said Burnett.

Burnett indicated that the campus has to take care of its own, just like it takes care of the buildings. “We have to take care of the people who provide instruction and care about our students’ future.”