Vice President of Finance Brian Foisy doesn”t understand why the University of Idaho has the practices it does for employee classification.
“I”m not sure how we got here,” Foisy said at a Faculty Senate meeting Tuesday. “I”m not sure why we do this.”
Foisy said he plans to spend the next 9-12 months evaluating UI”s internal equity issues based on the needs of faculty and staff. He said the idea to change internal hiring practices is still in the exploratory stage and the presentation was intended to get feedback from faculty members on the idea.
“We are just exploring and doing our due diligence right now,” Foisy said.
Foisy said he would want to receive approval from multiple share governance groups on campus before bringing an idea to UI President Chuck Staben for final approval.
If approved, Foisy said a change to UI”s practices in hiring current employees should address one issue with internal inequity.
Current employees are allowed to apply for higher positions at UI, Foisy said, but if they were given the position they would not be awarded the higher salary that comes with the position. Applicants outside the university would be given the salary to fit the position.
Foisy said the process discriminates against internal employees. The reason for it is because allowing current employees to get a pay raise by changing positions would create an internal equity problem, but Foisy said UI already has an internal equity problem by adopting this practice.
Foisy said UI”s overall issue with internal equity is a big problem and he doesn”t have a solution for it at the moment. He said one part of the solution might be to remove the hiring discrimination against internal applicants.
Although, Foisy said he wants to seek further approval before bringing proposed solutions to Staben.
Almost all members of Faculty Senate were pleased with Foisy”s idea and shared their appreciation.
“This is absolutely fantastic,” said Brian Mahoney of campus recreation. “Where were you about two years ago?”
Mahoney did have words of warning for Foisy, however. He said he and other faculty and staff have attempted to fix problems with internal inequity at UI before and were shut down by other administrators.
Faculty Secretary Donald Crowley appreciated Foisy”s words as well, but said he found it unlikely that UI”s internal equity problems can be fixed all at once. He said the current hiring practice is thought to maintain equity rather than degrade it because some colleges at the university pay its employees more than others. If employees are allowed to shift through colleges and departments and change their salaries based on that, many employees may drift into the richer colleges, Crowley said.
Though Foisy said he wished he could abolish UI”s internal equity problems outright, he admitted that some of it likely wouldn”t go away. Changing the university”s hiring process, however, would prove to current employees that UI values them and that the ability to be flexible and work in multiple different departments increases their value, he said.
“Step one right now is to make sure current employees understand that we like you,” Foisy said. “We appreciate that you came to work here.”
Erin Bamer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ErinBamer