by Max Brantley
NEWS UPDATE: In my haste to get home to let the dog out, I forgot to let readers know that B. Alan Sugg, president of the UA System, says the University of Arkansas will not force any showdown on university independence. They will go along with a pay freeze, as the Beebe administration has ordered, for faculty and non-classified employees. At least for six months. Step increases for years of service also be withheld. Read on the jump for UA release.
NEWS UPDATE II: Don't know about you, but I'm fascinated by wacky South Carolina. Nikki Haley, object of TWO claims of extra-marital hubba hubba, won the Republican primary for governor. Lyin' Joe Wilson's son won the runoff for attorney general. Strom Thurmond's son was waxed in a runoff with a BLACK man for a Republican Congressional nomination. I should have asked Ernie P. for some expert commentary. This is rich: Twitter says both Mark Sanford and estranged wife are at Nikke Haley's victory party. Her two paramours, too?
UA NEWS RELEASE
LITTLE ROCK — After meeting today with Gov. Mike Beebe, University of Arkansas System President B. Alan Sugg has directed UA campuses not to move forward with planned salary increases for faculty and other nonclassified staff. The decision will be revisited after the first two quarters of the fiscal year.
In light of the uncertain economy and recent state budget shortfalls, Beebe strongly recommended that institutions of higher education hold off on the salary increases at this time, Sugg said. Campuses will also hold off on granting career service payments for eligible employees.
While Beebe acknowledged that university boards of trustees clearly have the authority to determine salaries for faculty and nonclassified staff, Sugg said system campuses will honor the governor’s request.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty about state revenues in this economic climate and we certainly understand and appreciate Gov. Beebe’s conservative approach,” Sugg said. “Hopefully, we will be able to grant these raises and the career service payments in six months.”
The funds for the planned raises will be held in reserve until a review in January. When conditions allow, raises will be granted retroactively, Sugg said.
UA Board of Trustees Chairman John Ed Anthony said he agrees with the decision.
“We understand and support Gov. Beebe’s position,” Anthony said. “Since the economic downturn, our board has directed our campuses to budget very frugally, including not granting salary increases for faculty and administrators in the past year. We feel modest increases for the coming year are justified, and we hope these increases can be implemented soon if economic conditions permit.”
UA System campuses had planned to provide an average of 2 percent merit salary increases to faculty and nonclassified staff for fiscal year beginning July 1.
UA institutions will move forward with a plan to implement the second half of a state-mandated pay plan for classified employees, who are governed by the state pay scale.