Regents approve one-time payments for WKU employees in quarterly meeting

WKU+President+Timothy+C.+Caboni+sits+at+the+Board+of+Regents+meeting+in+the+Regents+Room+inside+Jody+Richards+Hall+on+Thursday%2C+Dec.+8%2C+2022.

Tucker Covey

WKU President Timothy C. Caboni sits at the Board of Regents meeting in the Regents Room inside Jody Richards Hall on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.

Michael Crimmins, Administration reporter

WKU faculty and staff making less than the median salary will soon be receiving a one-time payment of $950.

The payment, a late addition to the Board of Regents’ quarterly meeting agenda, was approved by unanimous vote at Thursday’s meeting.

The payment will be given to employees making less than $65,362 and who were hired on, or before, July 1, 2022.

“I think it’s great news for campus, and I’m excited to recommend it,” Susan Howarth, executive vice president for Strategy, Operations and Finance, said.

“I’m thankful we’ve gotten to this place,” President Timothy Caboni added.

This action item was added to the agenda after the Budget Executive Committee made the recommendation to the President and the Board late on Tuesday.

“I’m thankful to the work of the BEC and their recommendation, and glad we were able to get to this place,” Caboni said. 

The discussion of a one-time payment was first entertained in the summer 2022 around the same time when the 2% raise was discussed, Caboni said.

The initial recommendation made by the BEC were two $500 payments for full-time faculty and staff, and a one payment of the same amount for part-time faculty and staff. The original recommendation also extended the cut off date from July 1, 2022 to Jan, 1, 2022.

The original recommendation was voted down 15-8 on Nov. 1 of this year. 

Jordan Basham, co-chair of the BEC, said the committee approved a recommendation for two $500 payments. 

“[Christopher] Shook and I made that recommendation to RAMP leadership, which is the president, the provost…and then Executive Vice President Howarth,” Basham said. “That recommendation turned into the $950 [recommendation].”

Basham said the number of WKU employees that will be helped by this payment will be roughly 1,000 faculty and staff.

Caboni said the university is planning to have the payments ready and factored into employee’s paychecks, but at the latest he said they would be ready by January. 

“We’re working as hard as we can to see if we can get it done before the holiday,” Caboni said. “We just learned of the recommendation Tuesday night and we’re already in the process of running payroll, so if it doesn’t happen before the end of the month it will certainly happen by January.” 

Caboni said the one-time payment comes with some budgetary implications, including reducing cash on hand by 1.5 days.

“There are trade-offs and so I’d be remiss if I didn’t explain that this is a decision made today that in future years will reduce our budgetary flexibility, reduces days of cash on hand […] and so that has long term implications,” Caboni said. “But what better time than a once in a generation inflationary event that we should be able to support our people and do what we can to take care of them.”

Howarth said there were also logistical implications that come with applying a change like this payment to a large number of employees.

“As you might imagine there are a lot of issues around implementing a salary adjustment to a large number of people,” Haworth said. “We are working with [the counsel’s office] and our HR professionals on any guidelines about who’s eligible, and who’s not, and so on and so forth.”

Caboni said he hopes it will provide relief to WKU employees during this time of rapid inflation.

“We know that inflation is being felt by our faculty and staff and we wanted to do what we could to help provide a little bit of relief, particularly at the holidays, to folks that are most affected,” Caboni said. “We thought that supporting those who had the lowest incomes on campus, the lowest half, was an important step for us to make.”

Administration reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected]