Undoubtedly, our SSC community colleagues are familiar with the employee wage and benefits survey presented a few weeks ago by Organizational Consulting Group in partnership with Hylant Group. The survey was commissioned by the SSC Board of Trustees. At the recent Faculty Association meeting we asked why external consultants were used for this task instead of drawing from the significant expertise available among our own faculty and staff, and Dr. Jones stated that the consultants provided us access to a database of wages in order to determine “market salary range” for our faculty and staff positions.
Stark AAUP has learned that the cost to Stark State College for the completed wage and benefit survey was $99,905.74 (invoices obtained by request from HR, 9/2015).
SSC administration has stated that the College “is experiencing economic challenges and financial constraints” (Truth & Transparency document, 9/2015), and it’s important to note that Stark AAUP has always been in agreement that fiscal management is an important consideration for any higher education institution, particularly in an era of enrollment and funding model changes. In light of this, we are compelled to ask: is nearly $100,000 a reasonable or necessary cost to pay for institutional access to a database? Additionally, if the goal was to compare compensation, why was the full range of our actual peer institutions not used as a basis for both comparisons rather than essentially purchasing a database containing thousands of dissimilar public and private companies? Once again, in the context of all employees being consistently asked to do more with less, we are concerned about the priorities evident in expenditures.
Numerous employees have also relayed questions regarding how the “market salary” range was determined for each job category, the rationale for the limited choice of selected peer and non-peer institutions for some comparisons, how reallocation inequities will be addressed in future salary structure, etc. We are currently awaiting the full data report and the videos of all the campus presentations to be released to faculty and staff in order to review the specific concerns and issues that may have been raised there. Additional discussion may be upcoming as that information becomes available.