Staff voice concerns, suggestions about compensation

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs

07 February 2001 | More than 100 staff converged at Alumni House last week to hear a progress report from the Compensation Advisory Committee and to provide input on the group's mammoth task of designing a new salary and classification system for the campus.

"The purpose of this meeting is to get your feedback," said Calvin Moore, committee co-chairman. "We want to hear your thoughts, complaints and helpful criticism."

Moore, a professor who heads the mathematics department, and committee co-chair Martha Fateman, director of Central Computing Services, began the meeting by outlining guiding principles the committee has developed to steer their work.

The six principles, in summary form, are:

  • providing employees compensation that is competitive with the market;
  • basing classifications, promotions and compensation on responsibilities, skills and effort that employees bring to the job;
  • broadening salary ranges and avoiding fine-grained distinctions in job classifications;
  • improving retention and career development efforts;
  • shifting authority for determining classification, promotion and compensation as near to the operating unit level as possible;
    making the classification, promotion and compensation process equitable and transparent.
  • Staff had questions related to all of the principles. One participant questioned the market comparisons the committee is using and asked whether the committee is taking into account the Bay Area's cost of living. Another staffer suggested that benefits and pensions, in addition to salaries, be considered when looking at compensation packages.

Several questions centered on unions and how the restructuring might work for staff covered by contracts. Other staff said any restructuring must address pay inequities between long-time employees and new staff brought in at higher salaries.

Several comments focused on cost of living increases, with one woman saying she has $8,500 less purchasing power than 10 years ago because her university wages haven't kept up with inflation. One audience member wondered how the campus will achieve market pay rates, given the 25 percent cap on salaries at the university. Moore clarified that annual salary increases greater than 25 percent require the chancellor's approval.

Committee members took notes of all comments aired and will consider them when drafting recommendations to the chancellor.

One more public forum - noon-1:15 p.m., Feb. 23, at Alumni House - will give staff an opportunity to share thoughts on compensation issues. An e-mail account - - also has been established.

Chancellor Berdahl has asked the committee to submit its recommendations at the end of the academic year.

"The key to fixing most of our problems is more money," said Moore. "Using our report, we hope the chancellor can persuade the regents and the state legislature to provide the funds needed to improve compensation for staff employees."

In addition to requesting more money, Moore said, the committee will work on issues that don't require additional funding, such as streamlining the campus's current classification and compensation process.

Visit for information about the committee and staff input at its December public forum.


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