University of Maine System eyed for raises

Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2012 in News

University of Maine System eyed for raises

ORONO — The University of Maine System has given some of its employees more than $7 million in raises since 2006, during a time when classes and programs were being slashed, according to information the university system released Tuesday. But human resources personnel say that many of the employees took on extra duties when other jobs were lost, and deserved the pay hikes.

Most of the pay increases were handed out under the Salaried Employee Compensation and Classification Program, which allows nonfaculty salaried employees in the system to have their positions reviewed to see if their workload warrants a higher pay rate. Others were as a result of promotions or transfers.

The University of Maine in Orono gave $2.74 million in raises over the past seven years, followed by USM with $2.35 million in increases. The University of Maine at Augusta saw $424,161 in raises; University of Maine at Farmington, $375,569; University of Maine at Presque Isle, $147,291; University of Maine at Fort Kent, $140,787; University of Maine at Machias, $66,290; and $757,041 in the system office.

During the same period, the University System lost 325 full-time employees, a raise average of more than $21,000 per job lost.

The University of Southern Maine faced questions last month after it was reported that university employees had received $242,000 in raises during the difficult 2012 fiscal year.

Two USM employees volunteered to have their raises revoked.

Faculty members say that it is unfair that so many raises were handed out to nonfaculty when the faculty is having a difficult time reaching a contract agreement with the university. Ronald A. Mosley, president of the Associated Faculties of the Universities of Maine, said that faculty productivity has being going up despite their increased workload, and that he is disappointed that the university has not "seen fit to make adjustments for us."

The faculty union’s members have yet to strike a new deal despite the fact that its members’ previous contract expired on June 30, 2011.

Chancellor James Page suspended all discretionary pay increases for system employees on March 22 and said the system would be reviewing its raise policies.

Page said he expects the majority of pay increases will be “unexceptional” but that legitimate questions about the policies have been raised.

Mosley was largely sympathetic to the new chancellor. “Chancellor Page kind of stepped into the middle of all this and I think he did the right thing,” Mosley said.

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