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Salary Update Letter to the Campus Community

March 10, 2010

Dear Colleagues,

In our last budget communication to the campus community in mid-December, we said we would provide an update in the spring on the status of salary increases for staff. While the official start of spring is still just under two weeks away, we wanted to provide you with an update as soon as possible.

We appreciate your patience regarding the possibility of any salary increase.  As you know, this has been a year of extraordinary financial challenges, for the nation and for UNH. As a result, the already complicated process of determining salary increases—which requires reviewing revenue expectations, changes in the cost of living and in the cost of benefits, questions of internal equity and levels of pay and benefits at comparator institutions—has been made even more complex. Nonetheless, please be assured that we are working hard on your behalf.

Here is what we know:

  • On the revenue front, we continue to work closely with the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) Board of Trustees to monitor the state’s financial crisis and carefully manage our own inextricably linked budget. Thus far, our state appropriation for FY 2010 and 2011 is intact, though the forecast for the next biennium, given the end of the ARRA fiscal stabilization funds, is bleak. Enrollment at UNH has been strong and our retention numbers have been good, although net tuition revenue has been stressed by higher than anticipated financial aid outlays. 
  • Reviewing the cost of living data (Consumer Price Index) shows that cost of living in our area has declined by 1.7% between July 2008 and January 2010.
  • The university offered the UNH faculty a 1.0 percent across the board increase, plus 0.5 percent merit and equity, effective January 1, 2010. However, the offer was contingent upon two important factors:  (1) there is an agreement between the parties by June 30, 2010; and, (2) there is no rescission in state funding for FY10. We do not yet have an agreement with the faculty, but will continue the negotiation process this spring. 

  • The USNH Board of Trustees has retained Mercer, a benefits consulting firm, to conduct an independent review of compensation and benefits at all USNH institutions, including UNH. The Mercer report will be discussed with the UNH staff councils on March 22. The report will then be considered by the USNH Financial Affairs Committee on March 29. We expect the full board will then act on any recommendations at their meeting on April 29. As you may recall from previous communications, an additional 46 cents must be added to every salary dollar to cover fringe benefits costs, driven in large part by skyrocketing medical costs. Our position is that any modifications to benefits should be consistent with USNH’s commitment to remain an employer of choice, which requires a competitive total compensation plan. 

If circumstances do allow us to announce a pay increase, the UNH administration will recommend to the board that salary guidelines for eligible staff and non-contract faculty make that increase retroactive to January 1, 2010. We hope to be able to provide you with a more detailed update no later than the end of April.

We assure you that the UNH administration is fully engaged in these critical discussions with the board and the University System office regarding pay and benefits. We are committed to fair compensation for all members of the UNH family, not least members of the UNH staff.  None of what UNH does would be possible without your hard work, creativity, loyalty and dedication.

Again, thank you for your patience and continued commitment to the University of New Hampshire. We will provide you with an update as soon as new information is available.

Best regards,

Mark W. Huddleston                            Dick Cannon
President                                             Vice President for Finance and Administration

 


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