Fireland Campus

The BGSU Board of Trustees held its March meeting at BGSU Firelands, which has experienced great growth in both enrollment and degree programs offered, Dean James Smith told the trustees.


Trustees grant classified staff pay boost for reclassification

Classified staff members whose jobs are reclassified will be eligible to receive an additional 2 percent pay increase on top of the previously allowed 4 percent as a result of action by the BGSU Board of Trustees at its March 3 meeting.

Before the change approved Friday, employees who underwent a job audit that showed that their position had changed significantly and were awarded a reclassification typically received a 4 percent increase in pay or the base pay of the new classification, whichever was greater. Under the new plan, those who are reclassified may receive an additional 2 percent in pay after a 60-day review period.

According to Rebecca Ferguson, assistant vice president for human resources, the classified staff has for several years asked the University to narrow the gap between compensation received after a position audit and compensation received after a promotion.

Employees granted a promotion receive the starting rate of the new pay grade or a 4 percent increase, whichever is greater, and, after a probationary period, an additional 4 percent increase.

Ferguson noted that the action will be appreciated by employees who have assumed many more responsibilities in their positions.

The cost of the change to the University is expected to be about $25,000 a year, she said, adding that of the 25-30 job audits BSGU usually sees in a year, 15-20 are generally approved.

Also at the meeting, which was held at BGSU Firelands, the board:

•  Agreed to formalize its agreement to pool with the other institutions in the Inter-University Council of Ohio to purchase insurance for casualty and property. BGSU first came together with the other schools in 1994 to form a group insurance program in order to save costs and secure greater coverage. Kim Miller, director of risk management, told the board that the pooling has already resulted in substantial savings for BGSU. By participating in the group, the University gives up some independence but is much more effective in attaining coverage and meeting costs, she said.

•  Approved a request from residence life for $500,000 for carpeting urgently needed in Founders Hall rooms and Rodgers, Kohl and McDonald hallways.

•  Approved revisions to the University Investment Policy aimed at further diversifying and increasing the long-term return on BGSU’s investment portfolio.

TABOR update
The Financial Affairs Committee heard a report from General Counsel Tom Trimboli and Larry Weiss, associate vice president for alumni relations and governmental affairs, about a referendum on the November ballot. Called TABOR, for Taxpayers Bill of Rights, the measure would restrict state spending for a number of tax-supported entities to inflation plus population growth in the state or 3.5 percent, whichever is greater.

Public universities are included in the measure, along with local and state governments, agencies and commissions that are directly supported by tax funds.

A number of terms in the proposal have yet to be defined, Trimboli said, including what constitutes an expenditure. Universities will be watching closely to see if state share of instruction will be included in the list of revenues that come from taxes and therefore would be limited by the spending cap.

The referendum also calls for a year-end “sweep” in which any unencumbered money in the General Revenue Fund and 10 percent of unencumbered money in all “non-general revenue funds” would be taken back by the state. Half the money would be returned to citizens as a tax refund and the other half sent to a new budget reserve fund. Again, Trimboli said, some of the terms are not clearly defined, including what is a fund and what is meant by “unencumbered.” The big question, he said, is whether university funds would be confiscated by the state.

If the referendum passes, the General Assembly may determine that it must control expenditures by public universities in order to ensure that the cap not be exceeded. The two greatest categories of expenses to be controlled would be payrolls and scholarships. Trimboli noted that the authority of university boards of trustees would be subjugated to control of the cap.

Weiss said that the Inter-University Council has passed anti-TABOR resolutions.

Enrollment reaches new high
In brighter news, Provost John Folkins informed the board that spring enrollment at BGSU has passed 20,000 for the first time, for the highest retention from spring to fall semester in 15 years.

Freshman retention this year is at 91.55 percent. “The advising initiatives we’ve instituted have helped in that regard,” Folkins said, “along with some better interventions we’ve been conducting.”

Applications are also up, with more than 10,000 received so far. “This is well over last year,” he said, but “you can never tell how many will actually come.”

Alumni are making calls to prospective “legacy” students—those whose parents are also alumni. Folkins reported there were 788 calls this year.

Conflict resolution training under way
The chairs of both Classified Staff and Administrative Staff councils, Nancy Posey and Lona Leck, respectively, reported that three members of each group, plus Posey, are engaged in conflict resolution training and will be prepared to serve as ombudspeople. Taking the training from classified staff are Stacie Enriquez, Jay Samelak and Ed Recker, and from administrative staff, Penny Nemitz, Joe Luthman and Diane Regan.
March 6, 2006