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CWC planning full study of jobs and pay compared with compensation elsewhere

Dec 18, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Employees at Central Wyoming College have voted to move forward with a comprehensive study of salaries and job classifications at the school.

The staff met last month in an open forum to discuss the prospect, and each group --classified staff, faculty and professional staff --wanted to continue the process.

Faculty president Matt Herr said his colleagues agreed unanimously to spend "whatever resources" are needed to develop a better understanding of compensation issues at CWC.

The money would come from a discretionary fund as part of the school's administrative services budget. During a CWC Board of Trustees meeting last month, administrators requested an extra $112,000 in that fund.

"If we do a marketing study or (a study) for wages, this is what our discretionary fund would be used for," said Ron Granger, CWC's vice president for administrative services.

Connie Nyberg, president of CWC's professional personnel association, acknowledged that the college has limited resources to pay for the market study.

Once the study is completed, she added, CWC may not be able to achieve the compensation and classification levels deemed appropriate through the process.

Regardless, she said the study is a priority for her peers.

"Even if we don't have the resources to carry forward with the results right away, it's important we know what the results are and (how) our job descriptions are compared to other areas," she said. "Even if we aren't able to do anything for one to three years, it's still important."

Open forum

Herr said the open forum itself gave employees and administrators a chance to learn more about pay rates and job titles at CWC.

"We were all trying to come together on the idea of trying to understand job descriptions, salaries, positions, those sorts of things," Herr told the CWC Board of Trustees. "I thought it was a great way for us to do this."

He said it can be difficult to attract new people to the school if salaries aren't competitive.

"Sometimes that's our greatest problem," he said. "We're challenged by the pay rates at other local institutions."

He added that skilled employees are more likely to stay at CWC if they feel their salaries are comparable to their colleagues' pay at community colleges elsewhere in the state.

Nyberg said her association considered the open forum to be an important step, too.

"It's really nice we do have that open discussion on our campus and that we're able to talk freely," Nyberg said. "The administration wants to know from the associations and know what our thoughts are. ... It's nice that our administration recognizes it's something that needs to be open and shared."

Comprehensive assessment

This is the first time CWC has considered compensation and classification for all employees at one time. In the past, administrators have examined salaries on a rotation, looking at pay for classified staff, faculty and professional staff during separate years.

Administrators said the cyclical process has led to some "pay equity challenges" due to changes in the marketplace. Jennifer Rey, CWC's executive director for human resources, said the compensation study also should help slow "pay compression," which occurs when the gap between salaries for new hires and veteran employees becomes too small.

Rey's department has issued a request for proposals from compensations consultants who could assist with the study at CWC.

She anticipates presenting a proposal to the CWC board by March 2014; changes to compensation would be considered during budget discussions next year.

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