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Nass: UW salary bumps unlikely

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Kevin Hoffman
December 16, 2010
— State Assembly Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said he believes the 2 percent salary increase recommended for University of Wisconsin System staff and faculty has a slim chance of survival in the governor's proposed budget.

The UW Board of Regents unanimously approved the pay increase for each year of the next biennium. The raise is required to be forwarded to the state during the budgeting process.


UW System President Kevin Reilly last week referenced a report by the Competitive University Workforce Commission, which showed the UW system is far below the average salary among peer universities.


"I don't think there's a good chance (of the raises passing)," said Nass. "Walker already met with the Regents and indicated to them it very well may be the status quo regarding the university budget due to the $3.3 billion deficit we have, which is climbing."


The commission's report found UW salaries for professors ranked 31st out of 33 peer schools—about $14,600 less than the annual average. It also highlighted lower salaries across the board for staff and administrators.


Reilly said the morale of faculty is suffering, and he named mandated furloughs and increased costs of benefits among the reasons.


"We cannot maintain the university system that we have today, envied around the world for its quality and access, or pursue those bold plans that benefit the entire state, without a strong, high-performing workforce," Reilly said.


"I'm proud of the people we have working for us today, and I want to give our chancellors the tools we all know they need to hang onto that talent, to recruit new talent and preserve the investment that Wisconsin taxpayers have made in the UW System."


Faculty and staff originally were scheduled to receive a 3 percent pay raise in 2008, but after receiving just 1 percent of that, Gov. Jim Doyle rescinded the rest, UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer said.


Telfer said neighboring states such as Iowa are giving raises and cutting back furloughs to university staff, setting Wisconsin even further behind.


"The issue really is, I think, people are feeling that they've gone without raises for quite a while, so the prospect of going longer, they feel they're losing ground," Telfer said.



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