Message From President Petersen Re: Budget

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The Tennessee General Assembly has approved the state budget for the
coming fiscal year, and President John Petersen shares how this directly affects University of Tennessee faculty and staff pay.

May 26, 2006

TO: All UT faculty and staff

FROM: John Petersen, President of the University of Tennessee

SUBJECT: President’s Message Re: Budget

Dear Faculty and Staff:

The Tennessee General Assembly approved the state budget today for the coming fiscal year, and I want to share with you how this directly affects University of Tennessee faculty and staff pay.

The general salary increase policy adopted by the legislature provides a 2 percent salary pool that includes a merit component for faculty and an across-the-board increase for staff. Specifically, the faculty increase is 1 percent across-the-board and a 1 percent merit pool. For staff, the increase is 2 percent across-the-board or $600, whichever is greater.

Throughout the legislative session, I have worked to advocate for the university and its employees as part of our ongoing plan to improve compensation. Importantly, the focus of our effort has been to make certain those paid less than $30,000 annually receive the maximum available. The input I received from faculty senate members, Employee Relations Committee representatives and others during my visits across the state was extremely helpful as we worked to address our pay concerns. I appreciate the legislature working with us to raise the pay of this employee category and to recognize our high-performing faculty.

I am disappointed that despite our hard work on behalf of UT employees, funding for pay raises is less than the amount provided for other state workers. We were, however, able to make certain you were included in a one-time bonus payment and a 401(k) increase. Here is how those changes may affect your compensation:

–Faculty and staff are eligible for a one-time bonus of $350 to employees with three or more years of state service payable around October 1

–The 401(k) monthly match is increasing from $30 a month to $40 a month

Although awaiting final action by the legislature, we are confident in the passage of a measure to raise the cap for longevity payments. Payments will remain at $100 per year of service, but the cap has been raised from 25 years to 30 years. This change increases the maximum payment from $2,500 to $3,000.

In addition to funds for salary increases, the university received additional state funds to help pay for ongoing increases in operating costs.

This is the first general operating funds increase for all our units in many years, and we are grateful for the support of higher education from both the administration and the legislature. I hope you will join me in thanking the governor and your legislators.

I will bring you more detailed information about pay raises and increased operating funds in the next few weeks, as more detailed information is made available to us.

Thank you for hard work and for all you do to make UT both a great university and a great place to work.