Furlough and Student Surcharge Outcomes from NSHE Board of Regents June 19, 2009

NSHE News
Las Vegas, Nevada – June 19, 2009

The Board of Regents took action today to implement legislatively required budget reductions through the use of an employee furlough program and temporary increases to student fees.

Based on recommendations from Board Chair Michael Wixom and Vice Chair Jason Geddes, the Nevada System of Higher Education will implement general professional personnel cost reduction measures in FY 2010, followed by a mandatory furlough program in FY 2011 to reduce professional staff and faculty salaries with an option for an increased workload for tenured faculty. The aim of the program is to meet the intent of Senate Bill 433 which calls for a four percent reduction each year of the biennium. This program will not affect part-time teaching faculty.

Classified staff have already received a legislatively mandated furlough program of one day per month for FY 2010 and FY 2011.

In addition, a five percent surcharge (as referenced in Option A of the Board agenda) will be added to student fees for each year of the biennium (five percent in FY 2010 and an additional five percent in FY 2011) starting with fall semester 2009.

The surcharge will not be effective until the spring semester of 2010 for Nevada’s four community colleges: College of Southern Nevada, Great Basin College, Truckee Meadows Community College and Western Nevada College.

All surcharges will sunset in 2011.

Regents heard testimony from faculty and student leaders about the proposed options, with students voicing strong support for Option A in the fee increase proposal.

Due to the timeline dictated by SB 433, the Board passed an emergency motion to implement the personnel cost reduction measures. The Board then has 120 days to make the reductions final and to make changes in the program if the need arises.

Specifics on the furlough and workload increase programs are expected to be communicated to NSHE employees in the next several days.

Below is the motion that was unanimously approved by the Board of Regents today:
1. The adoption of Option A–a temporary surcharge for registration fees as set forth in the tuition and fee increase reference materials;
2. The adoption of a Code amendment set forth below which is subject to the considerations numbered 1-7 set forth at pages 3-4 in the Memorandum of Chair Wixom and Vice Chair Geddes, dated June 17, 2009 to the NSHE Regents, entitled “Senate Bill 433″ Implementation Recommendation”; and
3. The adoption of an emergency amendment of the NSHE Code (requires 7 votes and is immediately effective for 120 days, to be made permanent by further Board action), in accordance with Title 2, Chapter 1, Sec. 1.3.3.b due to the 2009 Legislative budgetary action and NSHE faculty contract provisions. The proposed amendment to the Code is the adoption of a new Code provision added to Title 2, Ch. 5, as Section 5.5.7, as follows:

Notwithstanding Title 2, Section 5.4, as the 75th Session of the Nevada Legislature has explicitly appropriated a lower amount for NSHE salaries than would otherwise be authorized and appropriate according to the NSHE salary policies, the Board of Regents does hereby and for the 2009-2011 biennium only, temporarily reduce salaries through the use of unpaid leave in an amount equivalent to the amount of legislative salary cut for FY 2011. The Board shall, to the extent feasible, devise methods that protect base compensation and benefits and shall offer tenured faculty an alternative of unpaid teaching workload increases in lieu of unpaid leave. The various Presidents shall consult with their respective faculty senates regarding the implementation of this section. Unpaid leave or temporary workload increases required by this section are final and not subject to appeal, grievance or reconsideration. The provisions of this section shall constitute constructive notice to all faculty and no individual notice to any such faculty member shall be required hereunder to implement the foregoing. To the extent any conflict or inconsistency between this and any other section of the Code exists, the provisions of this section shall control. This section will terminate on June 30, 2011.



2 Responses to “Furlough and Student Surcharge Outcomes from NSHE Board of Regents June 19, 2009”

  1.   hoganj Says:

    I appreciate the comments reflected in the above statement prepared for the Board of Regents by our chair, Dr. Elliott Parker. As I understand it, the regents passed a 120 day emergency policy that included furloughs to soft (non-state) funded faculty and staff. This will have a detrimental impact on CASAT (Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies) because with the exception of one tenured faculty member, we are all administrative and non-tenured faculty and classified staff members. NO state money is used to support any of the staff members at CASAT. To be clear, at CASAT we are all supported completely by cooperative agreements, grants, and contracts and most of them are from the federal government. We too, like DRI, have a business model which generates all our non-state funding.

    Simply, this policy causes considerable concerns and opens up many dilemmas. For example, if we cannot use our outside funding to pay for staff members to provide services we agreed to in our grants and contracts, we have to decrease our budget and revisit the scope of work (which in turn decreases the amount of indirect funds that go to UNR). Additionally, we could potentially become less competitive in future applications with other bidders who can demonstrate full staffing strength. Finally, at a time of doing more work with less resources, I would think the State of Nevada would appreciate the efforts of faculty who generate extramural funding for our institutions. This policy puts more work on the PI’s by having them go back and renegotiate grants and contracts that were negotiated successfully the first time. I would like to suggest that a better solution would be to encourage and support the PIs to spend time finding more money and making sure the work they do on their grants and contracts is excellent so they can renew and attract additional grants and contracts in the future.

    Again, the issues are complex. All this begs the question, how does furloughing soft funded classified and non-tenured faculty members solve the budget crises? I believe that this policy will result in less indirect fees to UNR (because grant and contract budgets will have to be renegotiated with the funding sources) which doesn’t help solve the budget crises at all and instead contributes to it. The implications of this decision are far-reaching and devastating.

    Julie A. Hogan, Ph.D.
    Director of Prevention
    Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT)
    University of Nevada, Reno
    800 Haskell Street
    Reno, NV 89509

    jhogan@casat.org
    1-775-682-8542

  2.   Madeleine Sigman-Grant Says:

    Colleagues,

    I do not know if you have seen this. Please read carefully. I do not know how this will impact us, as I do not know what types of workload increases UNCE faculty could obtain to avoid the one day furlough. Perhaps Dean Hinton will have more information she can share.

    Please share this information with your staff as well (perhaps it should come from the Area Directors). In the Southern Area, staff have expressed concern about the faculty salary issue. This will help them understand that they are not being unfairly treated – we are all in this together.

    As for grant funded positions – note that these are also impacted, but that UNR is trying to get the Board of Regents to reconsider. It is ludicrous since furloughing staff and faculty salaries paid by grant funds automatically reduces the total money brought into the university.

    I will keep you posted as I receive further information.

    Madeleine Sigman-Grant, PhD, RD
    University of Nevada Cooperative Extension

    If it’s appropriate to share this with faculty senate, please do…

    I’d like to echo or add to the issue of furloughs for grant-funded classified personnel being counter-productive, since I have a number of them on my 3 SNAP-Ed projects.

    I’m concerned that reducing the hours of personnel hired to do specific grant-funded tasks jeopardizes the capacity to carry out the grant’s purpose.

    The paperwork and tracking constitutes a time-consuming burden and takes away from productivity. Example: I have a .035 CBI who does periodic translation who – I’ve been told – must be “furloughed” 15 minutes each month (even though she only may work 3-4 hours a month). It is kind of funny thinking about her filling out the 6-month Furlough Form stating when she’ll be taking that time.

    I have another classified CBI-II who is paid out of two accounts (one grant-funded, one not) who puts in unique % FTE time from each of those funds on 2 different projects (.4 FTE federally funded plus .1875 local funding on Project A, and .1875 on Project B). She’s overwhelmed at the prospect of calculating how many minutes of “furlough” to take on each project.

    I have been told that I can increase the %FTE on the PAF so that – accounting for the loss of income caused by the furlough – the total grant funds allocated may be spent. Must that be done “sub rosa” or would that be an approved way of “getting around” the furlough issue on those who are part-time grant-funded?

    Thanks for the work you do in sharing this info.
    Kerry Seymour

    Grants and contracts are the ‘business’ transactions in which faculty engage, bringing money into NSHE–most from federal and/or private money (not state funds). However, the funds are to be spent on defined activities, for set pay, in a set period of time. Any money left (e.g. from furloughed salaries and fringe) will have to be turned back – including F&A to the campus.

    Please read the memo below. Having to track 15 minutes each month (which totals 1.5 hours over 6 months — less than the 4 hour block of time permitted to be furloughed at any one time) seems counter-productive (as Kerry notes). Moreover, when faculty propose a grant, they consider how much can be done in the time allotted by the personnel funded. Hence, when personnel time is reduced, how can grant commitments be met? Someone suggested a way to Kerry but I do not know the consequences of this approach. Can anyone answer Kerry’s last question?

    Hopefully, there can be some reconsideration to the BOR decision, if not for FY 2010, maybe for FY 2011.

    Madeleine Sigman-Grant, PhD, RD

    Hi all,
    First, let me say that each grant has a signed contract with University and the funder in effect as to how the money is to be spent and allocated during a certain or specified time period. In my opinion, the NSHE/state can not just make executive decisions that changes that contact without either canceling the grant or renegotiating each grant to add the furlough. Some grants allow the PI to reallocate money from category to category without permission up to an assigned percentage but my understanding is every grant is different based on the funding source requirements.

    I am not clear how the state can mandate furloughs for grant funded positions when the state does not control the requirements for each grant. This would also apply in the other direction of giving raises or merit pay increases to grand funded employees that were not allocated in the original signed grant and contract.

    Even though grant funds become part of the UNR institution, the policies and requirements stipulated by each funding source must be followed, which in my opinion overrides the policies of the state or state mandates.

    Maybe this needs to be explored and clarified before we start counting 15 min increments, furlough grant funded positions and or break signed contracts with funding sources.

    Eric Killian

    Eric’s point seems like a worthy one to explore. How can the BOR require us/UNR to breach existing contracts?

    Jackie Reilly

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.