Responses to Chancellor's Communication-August 29, 2000

Thank you to all of the CSU employees who took the time to respond to my August 29th e-mail. I was pleased to learn that so many of you felt positively about this new avenue of communication.

By September 1, my in-box was filled to the brim with your thoughtful comments and questions. Although the sheer volume of messages prevents me from answering each one individually, I thought I would take this opportunity to answer the five most frequently asked questions (see below).

For those of you who experienced technical problems in receiving the message, I ask that you bear with us while we smooth out the "bugs" in this process. The system administrators in my office and on the campuses are working diligently to ensure that each employee is able to receive these e-mails, and that our distribution lists are current.

Once again, I thank all of you for taking the time to send me your questions and comments. I look forward to hearing from you again as I continue sending these e-mails throughout the year.

Here are the most frequently asked questions and my responses:

1. Can you explain more about what you mean by a 6 percent compensation "pool"? And when will we receive our salary increases?

The CSU requested, and the final CSU budget included, funding sufficient to provide a six percent compensation pool adequate to negotiate salary and benefits improvements for employees. In fact, benefit improvements were negotiated from within this pool this year. Some employees will receive more, and some less, than six percent, depending on employee eligibility for such increases as service increases, merit increases, and market increases.

The specific salary programs for represented staff employees are dependent upon the terms of the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Except for merit increases, salary increases for all represented staff employees (except those represented by the Academic Professionals of California), were provided no later than the September 1 pay warrants.

Merit increases will be provided after campuses complete their merit review processes. Performance increases for confidential and management employees are also implemented by campuses once they complete their merit review processes.

2. You mentioned your desire to close the "faculty salary gap". What about salaries for staff members?

Our staff consists of many varied types of positions in different classifications. Therefore, it is impossible to compare our staff members' salaries across the board with other institutions. There is no single "gap" that applies to all staff employees in the CSU. However, each year we review salaries of selected staff classifications against established market salary surveys to determine how CSU salaries compare to those in the competitive market place.

In response to last year's review, we negotiated market salary increases from within the six percent compensation pool for more than 100 classifications, such as information technology classifications.

We will continue to conduct compensation reviews on a regular basis, and work with the various staff unions, in order to ensure that our staff salaries remain very competitive.

3. If the CSU received such a good budget, why do we have hiring freezes, materials shortages, and/or facilities in disrepair on our campuses?

Many of these budgetary decisions are campus-based, and in some cases these decisions are made at the dean or departmental level. In order to get complete answers to your questions, I asked our campus presidents to review your messages at our Executive Council meeting last week.

As for hiring freezes, the presidents have assured me that there are no hiring freezes for faculty positions on any campus.

On two of our campuses, a review is being done of staff positions. Upon justification of these staffing needs, the presidents will approve filling these vacancies.

Several of you also called to my attention the materials shortages in your departments. I have asked the presidents to review those individual cases.

Finally, as to the condition of our facilities, I want to reiterate that maintenance and repair continue to be among our highest priorities. Given that more than half of our facilities are over 28 years old and almost a quarter are more than 38 years old, our facilities have many major repair needs. In the new budget, the governor gave us $2.8 million to help us with our deferred maintenance backlog. That money has been allocated to the campuses proportionately, based on total campus building square footage.

4. Can you provide some more details about the new California Workforce Initiative? Where will the money go?

The current number of CSU graduates in the fields of agriculture, computer science, engineering, and nursing are not adequate to fill California's projected need. The programs that address these fields are traditionally more expensive, due to higher equipment costs and necessarily smaller class sizes, along with the difficulty of obtaining additional quality instructors in a tight job market.

Recognizing this need, the state made a one-time allocation in 2000/01 of $10 million for what is now called the California Workforce Initiative. These funds have since been allocated to the campuses, based on enrollment in these strategic disciplines. The specific distribution of these funds will be left to the discretion of the campus presidents; however, this type of one-time funding is typically used for equipment and materials.

Several of you expressed an interest in getting involved with this initiative. I suggest that you contact your presidents or department heads for more information.

The CSU is requesting $10 million on a permanent basis to enhance the currency and the quality of these programs and to create opportunities to prepare more graduates in these disciplines.

5. What is being done to address the high cost of housing for faculty and staff at those campuses that are in particularly expensive areas?

The rapidly escalating cost of housing has been identified as an important issue at several of our campuses. Housing for faculty, staff, and administrators that is near the campus can help promote a sense of community that advances the educational mission of the university.

The CSU is actively reviewing a number of options that would help make housing more affordable. Those options include:

  1. Financing assistance programs;
  2. Building faculty and staff housing on acquired land;
  3. Creating housing assistance centers on campus.

The exact nature of housing assistance programs may vary from campus to campus depending on campus need and other factors such as the availability of land. The CSU system currently plans to do a thorough assessment of housing needs and issues during the fall academic term.

last updated 11 September 2000