Mead says he'll probably back UW pay raise request

Sep 13, 2013 The Associated Press

LARAMIE -- Gov. Matt Mead said he likely will support the University of Wyoming's $13.3 million request to increase salaries for faculty and staff.

But Mead told the UW Board of Trustees on Thursday that he'll withhold endorsing a specific amount for raises until he has a clearer picture of state revenues this year.

UW is requesting money for 4 percent increases for all UW faculty and staff.

Mead noted that projected state revenues have almost been met for the current fiscal year with two months left to collect more money, the Laramie Boomerang reported.

"Four percent's not out of the ballpark," he said.

UW President Robert Sternberg said the raises likely would be distributed on merit, meaning some could receive more and others could receive less than 4 percent.

"I think merit, for faculty, is in terms of the quality of their teaching, the quality and quantity and impact and visibility of their research, and the quality of outreach (work)," Sternberg said. "In terms of staff, it would be in performance evaluations."

Trustee Jeff Marsh asked if that meant some faculty would receive no raises.

"I don't want to commit myself to that," Sternberg told Marsh. "(The request) means we have a 4 percent average."

In addition, the governor said he hopes for no surprise requests from UW during the upcoming legislative budget session, which is slated to begin Feb. 10.

During the session last winter "items of interest to UW came up that were put in the budget that were not discussed beforehand with me," Mead said. "It was the Arena-Auditorium."

Earlier this year, the legislature and Mead approved the UW trustees' $5 million request for improvements to the athletic facility. While a "worthwhile project," Mead said the request came in the "middle of the session."

Such requests have the potential to scuttle higher-priority items for the university, Mead said.

"If we want to have the most success in the session, we need to make sure we have our priorities," he said. "We don't want to be tempted by other offers during the session that dilutes priority No. 1."

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