by Max Brantley
I'll pass along a note I received today from the staff of Northwest Arkansas Community College about a subject they hope comes up today at the meeting of a legislative higher education subcommittee.
Higher Education board.
Simply: Tuition is going up; staff pay isn't going up; legislature pleads poverty yet top officials got whopping big pay raises in a manner the staff finds secretive. They included a 20 percent-plus raise for the president's secretary, almost as much as the UA football coach's girlfriend made, if you want some idea how outlandish the pay is.
Welcome to Arkansas higher education, where a year rarely passes with a COLA-exceeding tuition increase for kids whilst another six-figure deputy/vice/assistant/chancellor/director/assistant football coach is added to the payroll.
Please help us!
During the past two years, the faculty and staff of Northwest Arkansas Community College have been told two things: 1. The state legislature isn't providing enough money for our college; 2. There isn't enough money for raises for our faculty and staff. They said that again last month when our students were told their tuition would increase.
We opened our newspaper recently — the Benton County Daily Record — to learn that our adminstration at Northwest Arkansas Community College has given nearly $100,000 in secret raises to SIX people. Specifically:
* Steve Gates, our Senior Vice President, received a raise from
$119,000 to $137,000.
* Wendi Cadle, our human resources director, received a raise from $65,000 to $83,000.
*Jim Hall, our government affairs director [lobbyist], received a raise from $69,000 to $87,000 (I'm told we are the only 2-year college in Arkansas to have a person represent us in Little Rock).
* Meredeth Brunen, our executive director of development, received a raise from $64,000 to $80,000.
* Marty Parsons, another senior vice president, received a raise from $116,000 to $129,000.
* Miranda Smith, the secretary to President Rebecca Danks-Paneitz, received a raise from $44,000 to $54,000.
The last one is perhaps the most insulting to NWACC faculty because the president's secretary makes more money that 80% of the college's faculty. Think about that!!!
While the college's leadership offered many explainations in the newspaper article, and will likely do the same with you if you ask them, know that the above is truthful and factual and that NWACC isn't obviously hurting for money if we are able to give six people nearly $100k in raises.
I'm am writing for your help. The word around here is that nothing will ever get done around here and these sorts of unfair and unjust raises will continue.
If you think this isn't your problem, please consider if this was happening at your college in your district. Please consider that your wife or husband is constantly overlooked for raises so their bosses (and their secretaries) continue to get large bonuses at taxpayers' expense. It isn't fair, and you shouldn't be lied to about financial problems here.
Thank you for your time.