In September, the University of Idaho Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration announced an additional review process for the university’s classification and compensation system.
Now, those additional steps are being put into effect with a set of seven committees that will review the position classifications for UI staff. Each committee will focus on a specific area on campus. The seven committees are departmental support, financial support, information and technologies, leadership support, science and research, skilled trades and farm staff, and student services.
The committees are comprised of university employees that have experience related to the area their committee is assigned to.
“The intent of it was to have a group of individuals … on each of those groups that work within those groups to be able to look at that group and see if there were any large group classifications that were inconsistent with everyone else and then to make a recommendation,” said Brian Mahoney, chair of UI Staff Affairs Committee. “We tried our best to make sure that we chose individuals that worked within that area that would have a good breadth of knowledge of that particular group.”
Ron Smith, vice president for finance and administration, said the committees will be looking at each area as a whole rather than on a person-by-person basis.
“They’re kind of looking across the university and seeing if it makes sense that all of the administrative support groups look about the same and look reasonable,” Smith said.
Smith said the committees were formed by Interim Provost Katherine Aiken and are intended to ensure that each position has been classified correctly.
“In the mean time we’ve contacted the deans and other administrative unit heads and said ‘Do you have some people in your areas that look like outliers? They just stand out?’ So we’ve got a list of those too,” Smith said.
Smith said there are two reasons a position might look like an outlier — either an employee did not fill out their position description questionnaire correctly or they simply were not classified correctly in the initial process.
“We’re going to re-look at all of those and then we’re sending all of this off to our consultant Sibson Consulting to have an independent look at it and say ‘does this look right?’ If we change this what affect would that have on the classification system,” Smith said.
Smith said the committees will have the review process done and some conversation with Sibson will likely have taken place by Nov. 1. Once these additional steps have been completed, Smith said the appeals process will take place in November and he said he hopes to have the entire classification and compensation process put into effect in December.
“It probably won’t be recalibrated (by Nov. 1) if that’s what needs to be done. But at least we’ll know what needs to be done at that point,” Smith said.
Smith said the other issue that has caused concern and led to the initial proposal of the classification and compensation system is compression of salaries.
“We have forces that conflict each other,” Smith said. “We have a compression issue — we don’t feel it’s fair to bring somebody in who has less experience than somebody that’s already here at a higher salary. But at the same time we’re finding when we go out to hire people the salary isn’t high enough to attract anyone, so that’s something we’re dealing with.”
Kaitlyn Krasselt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org