University to put off salary increases

Most University employees will not receive their yearly pay raise next year if the Board of Trustees approves a switch to an 18-month salary hike cycle.

The move, expected to be confirmed by the Board in May, will affect almost all University employees, from janitors to University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. The pay of some employees, such as men’s basketball coach Karl Hobbs, will not be affected because they have salary raises built into their contracts.

GW typically grants pay raises to employees on a 12-month cycle, but decided to alter the schedule in order to re-allocate resources to other programs for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. This year, budget cuts led to the scheduled elimination of several academic departments – including earth and environmental sciences and peace studies – whose courses will be folded into other disciplines.

Next year’s plans also include the continued transfer of administrative offices from Foggy Bottom to the University’s Ashburn, Va., campus. The move will save “several millions of dollars a year” in the long run, Executive Vice President and Treasurer Louis Katz said.

The University has switched the pay raise cycle to an 18-month schedule at least once in the last several years. Katz said he is unsure if the cycle would be implemented more frequently in the future.

Sylvia A. Marotta, chair of the Appointment, Salary and Promotion Policies Committee for the Faculty Senate, said she is not surprised that the pay raise schedule may be changed.

“It’s hard to say that anyone would be glad about this,” Marotta said. “The two times that it’s happened it’s been done with relatively little notice. I would like to know what the rationale for it is.”

While the issue has not been put on the agenda for Friday’s Faculty Senate meeting, Marotta said she thinks “it needs to be brought to the appointment committee.”

Even though there may be a pay freeze for faculty, Katz said, the University can still allocate more money to departments where there is a lot of competition for good professors, such as departments involving technology.

“You got to look at where your market pressures are,” Katz said, adding that allocating more money to competitive departments means he does not worry about losing talented professors.

The University did not conduct any formal polling to gauge opinion about the pay freeze.

“We try to listen to what all of our faculty and staff say. That doesn’t mean we can do everything (they want),” Katz said.

At American University, 12-month pay increase schedules are the norm. Nana An, executive director of Budget and Payroll at American University, said the school will have yearly pay increases starting in September.

American University has changed the cycle start date to January in the past, but all workers were compensated for the calendar shift. n

-Michael Barnett contributed

to this report.

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