Regents to monitor large raises

Tessa Duvall

Beginning at the Board of Regents meeting in January 2011, all employee salary increases of more than $5,000 must be accompanied by a written explanation justifying the increase.

Faculty Regent Patricia Minter proposed the idea at the finance committee meeting on Oct. 22 and again at the full board meeting held the same day.

Minter said she suggested the written explanations because she noticed there were significant salary increases without a promotion.

This has been a divisive issue in the past with administrative raises being put before the board, she said.

The explanations do not need to be lengthy or complicated; they only need to explain why the raise is justified, she said.

In order to simplify the process, bulk actions, such as promotions for tenure, can be marked with an asterisk and use one bulk explanation, Minter said.

Ann Mead, vice president for Finance and Administration, said her department already has the information necessary to justify the raises, which they’ll provide to the board in a succinct manner.

Human Resources Director Tony Glisson said his department will watch personnel transactions as they are processed, and documentation for any transactions more than $5,000 will be provided to the board at its next meeting.

Possible reasons for salary increases of this nature include significant departmental reorganizations and reshuffling of duties and responsibilities which could lead to pay adjustments.

Out of the numerous personnel actions that the board sees at each quarterly meeting, Glisson estimates that about three of those at any given time are greater than $5,000.

The increase in workload for the department will not be significant, he said.

Board of Regents Chairman Jim Meyer said the written explanations will help increase parity at WKU.

It will provide good disclosure regarding increases in pay, he said.

“With the budget restraints that we have right now, I do not think it is a bad idea,” Meyer said.

Minter said it will allow the board to exercise financial oversight and will contribute to a better work environment if all salary information is transparent.

The requirement of written explanations was not voted on by the board, but regents gave their general consent and the department of Finance and Administration will comply, she said.