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  • 18 Sep 2023 12:41 PM | Jim New (Administrator)

    It's no secret that salaries for CEOs in private corporations across American have grown at a nearly obscene rate for the past 50 years, while rank and file income growth has all but stalled. A 2022 study by the Economic Policy Institute revealed that CEOs are paid 399 times as much as a typical worker as of 2021. In other words, for every dollar the average worker earns, the boss at the top of the organization's food chain is making nearly $400. That is a massive increase from the 1965 ratio of 20-to-1, or even the 1989 ratio of 59-to-1. The AFL-CIO's annual Executive Paywatch report indicated that this discrepancy is 272-to-1 in S&P 500 companies in 2022. Regardless of which methodology or reporting agency you turn to, the message is clear. The executive class grows ever wealthier while the rank-and-file fall further behind. The disparity has grown so much, it is now a leading cause for labor actions in the country. It appears the same dynamic may be playing out in higher education, and there is anecdotal evidence it is happening in NSHE, albeit on a smaller scale.

    This caught my attention at the August 29 meeting of the Board of Regents when Regent Carol DelCarlo questioned the jump in salary for the new Interim Chancellor Patty Charlton compared to the salary of her predecessor, Dale Erquiaga. According to DeCarlo's comments, Erquiaga served as acting chancellor with an annual salary of about $300,000. Less than two months after Erquiaga's departure, Charlton's appointment comes with a salary of $378,198 per year, or an increase of 26%.

    NSHE Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff Crystal Abba explained to the Regents that between the time Erquiaga was hired and the time Charlton was appointed, NSHE paid a consultant to conduct a salary schedule study in compliance with Title 2, Chapter 5, Section 5.5 of the Board of Regents Handbook. The study recommended substantial modifications to several salary schedules, mostly at the executive and administrative ranks. One of those recommendations, which were implemented in July 2022, resulted in the starting salary in Grade 1 of the NSHE Executive Salary schedule to be adjusted upward by 21%. For community college presidents and vice chancellors who are placed on Grade 2 of the same schedule, the starting salary increased by an unprecedented 59%. 

    A quick check of the changes in NSHE salary schedules over the past decade reveals progress has been inconsistent, to be charitable. We compared schedules from the P&GM as it was published in July 2013 with the July 2023 edition. The table below summarizes the scope of changes for various NSHE professional job classifications.

    It's important to keep in mind that the only individuals affected by a change to their salary schedule are those whose current salary falls below the new minimum of the adjusted schedule. These changes primarily affect new employees, which means any new faculty hired at a community college are placed in the exact same starting salary as they were 10 years ago. 

    And, while it's not a perfect apples-to-apples comparison with our examples from the private sector above, the compensation gap at NSHE, based on the starting point in each salary schedule, is also growing. In 2013, the lowest a Chancellor or University President could be paid was $312,546, which is just over 8 times more than the starting point on the community college salary schedule at $37,353. The new minimum salary at the top of this food chain has grown to $378,198, or more than 10 times greater than the stagnant community college starting point. In essence the gap grows wider. In fairness, a faculty salary is based on 10 months, so adjusting the salary to an annual amount still leaves a gap of 8.5 times in 2023.

    Realistically, we have very few faculty members, if any, starting at the bare minimum. That wasn't a living wage in 2013, let alone now. But we do have some that do not earn substantially more than that. It's equally unlikely, however, that our next permanent chancellor or any new president will be paid at the bottom of the scale. 

    Like Regent DelCarlo, the dramatic increase in the Chancellor's lowest-possible salary took us by surprise, too. It stands to reason that massive and inconsistent adjustments to salary schedules like these would have drawn significant attention when it was presented at a Board of Regents meeting, but no one could recall that happening. It turns out that these modifications were never discussed in the public forum of the BOR meetings. Salary schedules for NSHE employees are published in the NSHE Procedures and Guidelines Manual (P&GM). Unlike the Board of Regents Handbook, which requires all revisions to be approved in a BOR meeting, changes to the P&GM only require a memorandum from the chancellor's cabinet to the Board. Student fees are the one exception, requiring a Board vote for any changes.

    The Board will soon discuss changes to a policy in the Handbook, governing the development and review of salary schedules. Fortunately, the policy was not passed at the September 8 meeting of the Board due to a technical snag. It is likely going to come up for a vote again in October. The full policy, itself, creates interesting obligations for NSHE, and we are not sure they have lived up to all of them (more on that in another post). We must encourage the Regents to adopt this proposal with the option that requires all changes to salary schedules to be discussed and voted on in the public forum of Board of Regents meetings.  Without such transparency, would it be surprising to learn ten years from now that the gap has grown even wider while no one was looking?

  • 11 Sep 2023 10:18 AM | Jim New (Administrator)

    From CSN-NFA Chapter President, Ted Chodock:

    On September 8, the Board of Regents discussed a proposal on the Development and Review of Salary Schedules. As a recommended action, the associated briefing paper includes to “recognize any state-approved COLA as part of the factors considered in the annual salary schedule updates” continuing with “Prior to 2018, annual updates to the salary schedules…aligned with the state approved COLA percentage.” This is incorrect. As Interim Chancellor Charlton, who was CSN’s Senior VP of Finance at the time, can confirm, the community college faculty salary bands structure was established in 2013. It has not been revised. In the five years prior to 2018, there were COLA increases in fiscal years 2016, 17, and 18. None of those increases have been aligned with the salary schedule. In fact, the entirecompounded deficiency, from 2013 to the present, is over 31%. 

    The Board of Regents has a recent history of adjusting salary schedules when deemed necessary. The CBIZ recommended Salary Schedule updates that went into effect on July 1, 2022, for example, increased the minimum salary for community college administrators at the Dean and equivalent level by 28%, for Associate Vice Chancellors by 56%, for Vice Chancellors by 59%, and for the Chancellor by 21%. Certainly, with the minimum community college academic faculty salary now less than 10% of the minimum Chancellor salary, this is the time to act. We can’t recruit quality faculty when Clark County School District bus drivers start at a higher salary.

  • 09 Sep 2023 7:05 PM | Jim New (Administrator)

    UPDATE: September 8. The Nevada Board of Regents approved the proposal by NSHE administrators to reinstate long-term disability insurance benefits for all professional employees. The new policies will take effect in January 2024.

    Nevada Regents, at their next regular meeting on September 8, will consider approving a proposal from NSHE administration that would establish a new long-term disability plan for faculty.

    Official seal of NSHE

    Restoration of the disability benefit has been an NFA priority since the state-sponsored plan was discontinued by PEBP during the pandemic-related budget crisis. Over 7,000 NSHE professionals who are not covered by Social Security Disability and are not eligible for PERS early disability retirement were left in the cold. We are grateful to NSHE and the Board of Regents for responding to this critical need.

    We encourage NFA members to attend the meeting, if possible, and make public comment to acknowledge this effort on our behalf.  The Public Comment period is scheduled to start within 45 minutes after the Board meeting starts at 8:30 AM on Friday, September 8. You may also submit written comments prior to the meeting through the NSHE website.

    While we frequently call upon members to speak out against administrative and Board proposals, it is equally important that we publicly acknowledge when NSHE and the Board of Regents are responsive to our needs. We hope you will take this opportunity to encourage the Board to approve the proposal and thank NSHE.

  • 03 Sep 2023 7:26 PM | Jim New (Administrator)

    The next regular meeting of the Nevada Board of Regents will be held on September 7 and 8 at the TMCC Dandini campus. The main Board agenda, as well as the committee agendas, include multiple items that are of direct interest to higher education professionals across the state.

    Noticeably missing from the agenda, however, is any discussion of the FY25 COLA. As you may recall, Governor Lombardo originally proposed to the 2023 Nevada Legislature cost-of-living adjustments of 8% and 4% for the biennium. Once the proposal emerged from the legislative sausage grinder, however, two separate bills were approved resulting in COLA of 12% in FY24 and 11% in FY25 for state employees, except NSHE professionals whose adjustments were qualified with the phrase “not to exceed,” as in not to exceed 12% and not to exceed 11%. 

    In June, hundreds of NSHE faculty heeded NFA’s call to encourage the Board of Regents to approve 12% COLA for FY24 despite behind-closed-door advocacy by institutional administrators for adjustments between 8% and 10%. Even though it was summer break, these efforts led to dozens of emails to regents and more than 60 faculty speaking out during the Public Comment portion of the June 30 special meeting of the Board. Regents heard our message that faculty share equally with other state employees when salaries and benefits are cut and we should share equally when salaries and benefits improve. They acknowledged our concerns about falling further behind while costs accelerated, and they understood the difficulty of recruiting and retaining qualified faculty for an effective system of higher education. The Board approved 12% COLA for FY24 but delayed the decision for FY25 until a future date.  

    Upon returning to campus for fall semester, faculty at the universities were told to prepare for operating budget cuts of $20 million at UNR and $50 million at UNLV. In some quarters, administrators blamed COLA. It appears that a whisper campaign is also underway claiming that an 11% adjustment for FY25 is impossible and promoting a smaller amount, such as the Governor’s original proposal of 4%. 

    Given the dearth of substantial salary adjustments for the prior two decades, the Governor’s original recommendations of 8% and 4% appeared generous when he first proposed them. Now some administrators seem to believe we should be satisfied, if not grateful, for 4% in FY25 after receiving the largest single-year increase in NSHE history this year. After all, there has never been a biennium in recent history where faculty have received combined cost-of-living adjustments of 16%. It is, undeniably, a step forward. But even after a combined 16% adjustment for the biennium, since FY07, before the financial crisis, NSHE COLAs have lagged inflation by nearly 15%.

    Nevertheless, the arguments remain the same. We share in the pain equally with other state employees. We should share in the largess equally, as well. Furthermore, NSHE must compete for faculty on the national level and it is critical that compensation remain competitive. The cost of living in Nevada’s urban cores has increased dramatically in the last decade and inadequate salary adjustments mean we fall further behind.

    We understand the budgetary challenges the administrators face at each institution. But the Nevada Legislature clearly established that they expect NSHE institutions to share in these costs through student fee revenue from now on. Significant changes in NSHE budget and spending practices are unavoidable. Accepting a substantially reduced COLA rate this year, allows administrators to just kick that can down the road instead of facing that reality now. 

    We encourage all NFA members to carry this message to the Board of Regents at each of their meetings until the issue is resolved. We cannot wait for a future meeting when the FY25 COLA is agendized for action. We need to make sure they hear us at every meeting while they are considering how to deal with the issue. If you can, please try to appear at the quarterly BOR meeting and make a public comment, which is scheduled to start within 45 minutes after the meeting starts at 8:30 AM on Friday, September 8. You may also submit written comments prior to the meeting through the NSHE website. Although the meeting will be held at TMCC in Reno, video conference connections will be available at the System Office in Las Vegas and at Great Basin College in Elko. We can make a difference when we all show up with a compelling message.

    In Solidarity,

    Jim New
    NFA President 2023-25

  • 01 Sep 2023 2:33 PM | Jim New (Administrator)

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance is the statewide guardian of faculty rights, academic freedom, and shared governance.  In ongoing efforts to promote a more positive working environment within the Nevada System of Higher Education, NFA frequently and vigorously defends against abuses of power, the erosion of faculty protections, and denial of due process. 

    In that spirit, for the first time since the organization was founded in 1983, NFA submitted an Amici Curiae, or “friend of the court” brief to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the pending case of Alice Wieland v. Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education. Amicus Curiae briefs are filed in cases with special importance by parties outside the litigation, but who have an “interest” in the outcome of the case. Due to the serious issues involved, the American Association of University Professors has also joined NFA for this potentially precedent-setting case. 

    Dr. Alice Wieland was a former NFA member and assistant professor of management at the University of Nevada, Reno College of Business.  During her seven years at UNR, Dr. Wieland received an impressive array of awards. As a female business researcher and scholar on the tenure track, her research agenda focused on how gender impacts women. The research and its findings, however, caused Dr. Wieland to experience hostility and unfair treatment from faculty and administrators in the College of Business. The culmination of this mistreatment was denial of her tenure and promotion to associate professor, ultimately resulting in dismissal. 

    Ironically, the denial was based in large part on anonymous comments in her student evaluations that were selectively chosen to hurt her tenure application. Numerous studies have proven that student evaluations are an inaccurate and discriminatory measure of teaching effectiveness, and most demonstrate there is considerable gender bias against female instructors in student comments. The denial of tenure and promotion was described by another professor in a sworn declaration submitted to the U.S. District Court in Nevada as, “…one of the worst cases of bias, vindictiveness, and procedural dysfunction” that he had witnessed in his more than 30 years of service to the university. Unfortunately, the District Court in Nevada ignored this compelling evidence and accepted NSHE’s deficient arguments, granting summary judgment for NSHE and unfairly ending the case, requiring the current appeal.  

    Given the importance of these issues, NFA and AAUP filed the Amici Curiae brief to explain to the Court our concerns about gender bias in faculty evaluations, appropriate procedures for handling claims of discrimination in an institution of higher education, our viewpoint on how the tenure process should function, and the importance of processes being transparent and fair. The brief addresses procedural and general concerns about academic freedom, shared governance, and due process rather than the details and facts of the case that might still be in dispute.

    We hope you will take the time to read the Amici Curiae brief and that you will share this document with everyone you think would be interested in these crucial issues.  

    The issues involved in Dr. Wieland’s case, as well as other ongoing concerns with NSHE clearly demonstrate the need for bargaining rights for faculty like those in the Collective Bargaining for NSHE Professionals bill (AB224) that was passed by the legislature, but vetoed by Governor Lombardo. It remains critical that bargaining rights be codified in Nevada Revised Statutes to ensure a more healthy and fair work environment. NFA continues to work toward that goal.      

    Most importantly, if you are a victim of discrimination or witness corruption inside your institution, you need to report such misconduct immediately and document everything. Due to its unique status as a self-governing entity in the Nevada Constitution, oversight of NSHE practices differs from other state agencies, which in the experience of NFA, makes it difficult for individuals to speak out. NFA provides legal defense support to members, so do not hesitate to contact an NFA officer for help. 

  • 18 Aug 2023 8:52 AM | Jim New (Administrator)

    UPDATE, 8/28/23: Ms. Charlton's Curriculum Vitae has been posted for review.


    UPDATE, 8/24/23: The agenda for the Board of Regents special meeting was posted today. It includes a proposal to appoint the current Officer In Charge, Patty Charlton, as the interim Chancellor. In lieu of a resume or curriculum vitae for Ms. Charlton, the agenda item included pages from Title 2, Chapter 1 of the Board of Regents Handbook which describe the various processes for selecting a chancellor, including an interim. The following language pertains:

    Prior to making the recommendation of an acting or interim Chancellor, the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board shall first meet with major constituencies of the NSHE, including presidents and faculty senate chairs, to receive their suggestions and input for the appointment of an acting or interim Chancellor. Additional constituencies may include, but are not limited to provosts, vice presidents, faculty and other institution staff, vice chancellors and other system staff, student leadership . . .

    As mentioned in the earlier post, the Chair and Vice Chair did seek input from some of these constituencies, but it appears to have been limited to the characteristics each group was looking for in the ideal chancellor. It does not appear that the qualifications of candidates under consideration were discussed with these constituencies, at least not with faculty leaders. Even Ms. Charlton's qualifications have not been revealed.

    While Ms. Charlton has a record consisting of many years of strong leadership at CSN, this selection process has been conducted almost totally in the dark with only cursory input from constituent groups. It totally ignored the principles of shared governance and robs the position of legitimacy. It just makes the job of righting a listing organization that much more difficult. 


    ORIGINAL POST: By all accounts, the Board of Regents appears poised to choose an interim chancellor for the Nevada System of Higher Education at a special meeting scheduled for Tuesday, August 29, 2023. While the need for a leader at the helm of NSHE has grown critical, the process for selecting one has grown murky.

    In a letter to members of the Board of Regents, NFA State Board members expressed concern that transparency and communication are non-existent in the selection process, violating the tenets of shared governance. While the procedures for conducting a national search for any NSHE executive is clearly defined and understood, no such guidelines exist for selecting an executive in an interim capacity. BOR policy allows an individual in an interim position to subsequently be appointed to the permanent position without any further search or vetting beyond their on-the-job performance. Because of this, it is crucial that the selection of an individual for the interim position be equally rigorous and transparent as a traditional national search. Unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be the case in this instance.

    In conversations with our Faculty Senate colleagues, we have learned that members of Board leadership have met with the Faculty Senate chairs as a group, but only to solicit input about what the chairs consider to be desirable characteristics for the interim Chancellor. Apparently, similar meetings have occurred with other constituency groups, such as student government representatives. While this input is essential, it will not meet the standards of shared governance if it is the limit of their involvement in the final selection.

    Our concerns are heightened by the persistent rumors that are emerging across the system in the absence of real communication. According to these rumors, there is a short list of individuals already under consideration, and the names that are mentioned are remarkably consistent from one institution's grapevine to the next.

    NFA officers have requested full disclosure by the Board of Regents of the finalists for this position as well as a description of the process and criteria used for the selection. We also requested that this information be made publicly available at least two weeks prior to the Board of Regents taking a vote to appoint the interim chancellor. Lack of disclosure will not only lead rank and file employees to assume the appointment is a back-room deal, but it also robs the appointee of the legitimacy that is necessary to restore stability in the Nevada System of Higher Education.

    All NSHE faculty members should be alarmed by this disregard of the principles of shared governance, and we urge them to express their concern with Regents and other higher education stakeholders.

  • 04 Aug 2023 12:57 PM | Doug Unger (Administrator)

    Happy August! These are the bittersweet days, when we’re doing our best to squeeze the remaining rest and recuperation from the closing chapters of our summer breaks. I hope we’ve all looked at the first pay slip of the new academic year and are happy with the results that the NFA with our labor coalition partners advocated and lobbied for months to the 82nd Legislature, and then to our Presidents, NSHE, and the Board of Regents to achieve. We succeeded!

    Thanks to our members who wrote, phoned, and gave Public Comment. Thanks especially to Past President Kent Ervin, President Jim New, and the NFA State Board for strategies, and to Vice President Shantal Marshal for keeping the June 30th testimonies organized to tell our stories so eloquently in advocacy for the full 12% COLA pay increase to the Board of Regents. Thank you to all who supported this historic pay raise.

    We should remember, too, that even with the 12% COLA and the retention bonuses (for those who earn less than $120k per year), our pay increases are not yet complete. Included in the AB 522 “pay bill” are also “continuity of service” payments. They are mandated to begin with the 8th year of continuous service to our colleges and universities (or to the NSHE system). There’s a complex ascending scale for this “longevity pay” which should be disbursed two times per year, but should begin with $200 per year starting in the 8th year of service and increase to more than $2,000 in the 30th year. The NFA will follow up with NSHE and our institutional administrations about these biannual “continuity of service” payments. We will keep you informed about how and when they will be disbursed.

    More importantly, as laid out in the AB 522 “pay bill”, there’s a mandate for a COLA raise “not to exceed” 11% for next fiscal year ’25 for NSHE faculty and professionals (added to and thus compounding the 12% this year). We will need to begin lobbying and advocacy for this raise with our institutional Presidents, NSHE, and the Board of Regents. Outgoing Acting Chancellor Erquiaga exhorted the Regents at their June 30th meeting that this discussion needs to begin “now.” The NFA’s stance is that faculty and professional employees should be paid salary increases equal to those for all other state employees: 4% + 7% = 11% (as laid out in AB 522). To be most effective and get the happiest results, we will need to do more this academic year to get organized. Please let everyone know that our NFA leaders and members will continue to raise our voices to help make these historic pay raises happen. We should do all we can to recruit more colleagues to join the NFA so as to add to our power.

    There’s good news also for our PEBP benefits. The NFA along with the representatives of AFSCME, the RPEN (retirees group) and others pushed for improvements: the $500 increase in our dental benefit (to $2,000 per member); the increases in our HSA/HRA accounts for the self-funded plan and at least slightly better adjustments for the PPO and HMO. Out-of-pocket maximums are significantly lowered (by $1,000 for individuals), and our PEBP basic life insurance benefit is restored to $25,000 per active employee and $12,500 for retirees. We still need to work on cutting the deductible for the HMO (like more standard HMO plans). And we’re still working to restore Long Term Disability insurance (which is only available now as a voluntary policy with additional costs). Still, we’re getting close to seeing PEBP health insurance and benefits at pre-pandemic levels or even better. Your NFA is always working to improve them.

    This month, August 13-15, delegates from our Collective Bargaining units at CSN and TMCC plus members of the state Board and I will attend the state convention meeting of the AFL-CIO in Reno. We’re looking forward to coordinating with various state coalitions who support the concerns of Higher Education labor and to building relationships that have proven invaluable to our impact and effectiveness (with AFSCME, the Teamsters, the Culinary Union, and others). We have a lot of work to do, and the NFA Government Affairs Committee is already planning future actions: advocacy for the full 11% COLA increase; tweaks to improvements in benefits and to customer service for PEBP members for fiscal year ‘25; more transparent leadership at NSHE (and please know that, though we haven’t endorsed any potential candidate for Acting Chancellor, we’re watching that leadership transition closely). Plus (of course!) we’ll be working with stakeholders in Higher Education and with our sisters and brothers in the labor coalition to organize and plan for the 2024 elections, which will be crucial for our collective futures.  

    Thanks again to all who helped to raise our voices to effect meaningful change. The NFA really does and can make a difference. Thanks for being there, in solidarity. Enjoy these last few weeks of summer. Listen to the cicadas singing! Happy August!

  • 04 Aug 2023 12:18 PM | Kent Ervin (Administrator)

    Prospects for Collective Bargaining Revisions

    By Kent Ervin, Past President, NFA

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance’s bill to authorize collective bargaining for NSHE professional employees, AB224, was passed by the 2023 legislature on a bipartisan basis—further in the process than in our prior two attempts—but was vetoed by Governor Lombardo along with a record 74 other bills. What are the prospects moving forward?

    • Because AB224 was vetoed after the end of the 2023 session, it will come back to the legislature in 2025 for a possible override vote.  Such votes to reconsider are rare—legislators usually prefer to start fresh with the Governor in a new session. However, the record number of post-session vetoes by the Governor is also unique. An override vote would require two-thirds supermajorities in both houses. Democrats had a 28-14 supermajority in the Assembly in 2023, but with 13-8 were one short in the Senate. There are at least three Senate seats that could flip in the 2024 general election and several Assembly swing seats are in the balance. Even if an override for AB224 is possible by the numbers, it is uncertain how its effective date of July 1, 2023, or the appropriation from the 2023-2025 general fund to support the administration of collective bargaining would be handled.
    • If an override for AB224/2023 is not in the cards, a new bill could be introduced in the 2025 session.  The hearings on AB224 and negotiations with NSHE and other stakeholders resulted in changes that should ease the process, but the bill would likely need to be rewritten if the amendment to remove the Board of Regents from the state constitution is approved by the voters in 2024.  An unknown will be the position of the new NSHE interim chancellor and administration.  Under Acting Chancellor Erquiaga, NSHE was officially neutral but fought AB224 through unreasonable fiscal notes and evident lobbying with the Governor—despite a majority of the regents being in support of the bill it was never brought for a vote on an official position by the Board of Regents. Prospects for a new collective bargaining bill depend on the makeup of the legislature and on engagement with the Governor.
    • In Spring 2022, the NFA proposed revisions to the internal NSHE Professional Staff Collective Bargaining Regulations (Title 4, Chapter 4 of the NSHE Handbook) and worked with the Council of Faculty Senate Chairs to get the proposal on the agenda for the Board of Regents. Acting Chancellor Erquiaga put a stop to that before the proposal reached the Board, with the excuse that changes were also being proposed through legislation and would need to be changed again if passed. NSHE policy cannot go as far as statute (for example, providing access to the state Government Employees–Management Relations Board) and Title 4 does not have the force of law, but the current Handbook provisions are obsolete and self-contradictory and need to be updated. Handbook revisions can be proposed either through the Faculty Senates or directly with regents.

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance will be engaging will all decision-makers to pursue these options to establish more mainstream standards for collective bargaining for faculty and other professional employees. The NFA Political Action Committee will also be active in promoting candidates who are supportive of collective bargaining.

  • 01 Jul 2023 5:00 PM | Kent Ervin (Administrator)

    Adjournment sine die of the 82nd Session of the Nevada Legislature was on June 5, followed by two special sessions through June 14. But for NSHE faculty it wasn’t finally resolved until June 30 when the Board of Regents approved the 12% cost-of-living adjustment for NSHE academic and administrative faculty effective July 1.

    We thank legislative leadership for the historic compensation package for state employees in AB522, Governor Lombardo for signing the bill, the institutional Presidents and acting Chancellor for recommending the full 12% for faculty (after some pushed for lower percentages), and the Board of Regents for the final approval. But we can also thank our union partners who lobbied alongside us, and our NFA members for actively supporting our advocacy in the legislature, for communicating with their Presidents, and for showing up at the Board of Regents. On June 30 there were over 65 written public comments, an hour of oral comment, and individual regents reported receiving over 100 emails from NFA members and other faculty. Collective action bears fruit!

    Kent Ervin's detailed report on the legislative session including a summary and all bills and budget items is available for your information. Our big disappointment was of course the Governor's veto of AB224, collective bargaining for NSHE professional employeesbut on this third try it went further than ever before with bipartisan passage by the legislature. The full post-mortem on AB224 is included in the report. Rest assured that NFA will be working on collective bargaining again in the legislature, as well as on ensuring we get our full 11% COLAs on July 1, 2025, with your support.

  • 05 Apr 2023 9:04 AM | Kent Ervin (Administrator)

    NFA Member Update on Proposed Compensation and Benefits for NSHE Faculty and Professional Staff

    The NFA has persistently advocated for competitive compensation and benefits for NSHE professionals and all state employees during this and past legislative sessions. With very strong revenues in the state budget currently and forecast, and facing an unprecedented state employee retention and hiring crisis, the Governor’s executive budget made a good start with cost-of-living adjustments and retention bonuses. Now the leadership of the Assembly and Senate has doubled up with a historic package of enhancements to mitigate the retention and hiring crisis throughout the state. The Nevada Faculty Alliance is grateful for these proposed and historic improvements, which still require approval of the Legislature and Governor.  Details below.

    • The NFA greatly appreciates the historic proposed compensation and benefits for state employees including NSHE professionals.
    • Increasing compensation and benefits to more competitive levels is essential for attracting and retaining high-quality faculty and professional staff for NSHE, and to mitigate the high vacancy rates of Classified staff across state government including NSHE.
    • We strongly urge the Legislature and Governor to fully fund the COLAs and other compensation and benefits enhancements for NSHE professionals.  Bridge funding for non-state-funded programs should be provided to cover the compensation increases until other funding sources can be secured.

    Proposed compensation and benefits for NSHE administrative and academic faculty (our preliminary understanding is based on the work session discussion on March 30 and is subject to change; changes for Classified staff depend on collective bargaining unit agreements and are not detailed here):

    1.  Cost-of-living adjustments(additions to base salaries)

    • 2% on April 1, 2023  (SB440)
    • Additional 10% on July 1, 2023
    • Additional 4% on July 1, 2024

    The resulting cumulative COLA for the biennium is 16.7%.

    2.  One-time retention bonuses (for full-time NSHE faculty up to a maximum salary, probably $100K to $120K)

    • $500 for employees as of 3/31/2023 (AB268, signed by Governor)
    • $500 for employees as of 6/15/2023 (AB268)
    • $250 per quarter for FY2024 and FY2025 ($1000 per year
    3.   Longevity Payments (new for NSHE professional employees)
    • Starting at 8 years of service, $150/year
    • Additional $50/year for 9 to 14 years of service
    • Additional $100/year for 15 to 25 years of service
    • Additional $150/year for 26 to 30 years of service

    Maximum is $2350/year for 30 or more years of service

    4.   PEBP Benefits for FY2024

    • Same plan design and employee premiums as FY2023
    • Additional $300 into an HSA or HRA account on 7/1/2023 for all employees on PEPB, from excess reserves accumulated in FY2022.
    • Additional amounts into HSA or HRA accounts on 7/1/2023 and 7/1/2024 based on dependent tiers: $300 for employee only, $400 for employee plus spouse, $400 for employee plus children, $500 for employee plus family. These amounts would be funded from the state general fund.
    • By PEBP Board action, the dental annual maximum is being increased from $1500 to $2000.
    • Long-term disability insurance apparently would not be restored. NFA continues to advocate for the essential safety net of LTD Insurance for state employees, who are not eligible for Social Security Disability.
    5.   Retirement Contributions
    • For faculty on the NSHE Retirement Plan Alternative, an increase of the mandatory employee contribution from 15.5% to 17.5% starting on 7/1/2023 (offsetting the 10% COLA on 7/1/2023 for take-home pay by minus 2%) and an increase in the employer contribution into the RPA 401a retirement account from 15.5% to 17.5%.
    • For faculty in PERS in the Employee/Employer Pay Plan, the employee contribution will be reduced from 15.5% in FY2023 to about 10.0% on 7/1/2023 (increasing take-home pay by an additional 5.5% with no change to PERS retirement benefits). The employer contribution from the State to PERS will increase from 15.5% in FY2023 to about 25.0% on 7/1/2023.  (updated 4/15/2023)

    Funding and the NSHE budget

    The funding of the compensation and benefits package for NSHE is not entirely clear from the public discussion at the work session on 3/30/2023 because the NSHE funding was not broken out. Generally, the Legislature proposes to fund this package for the state General Fund portion of the NSHE budgets (i.e., with the expectation that student fees and tuition for instructional budgets and other fees for self-funded programs should cover the rest).  The difficulty for the various institutions to fund the compensation increases for non-state-funded personnel and programs varies, especially for the increases that go into effect immediately near the end of FY 2023 and at the beginning of FY 2024.  We urge the Legislature to consider bridge funding for non-state-funded programs with one-time funds.

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