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  • 29 Nov 2017 2:15 PM | Deleted user

    The following testimony was provided to the PEBP Board by NFA Legislative Liaison Kent Ervin, on behalf of NFA:

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance (NFA) is the statewide association of faculty at all eight NSHE institutions, most of whom participate in the Public Employees’ Benefits Program along with other state employees.

    The NFA greatly appreciates the hard work of the PEBP staff and the PEBP Board to maintain our health insurance program in the face of rising costs and budgetary constraints. It is a difficult task to balance diverse interests in a program with many moving targets.

    Regarding the HMO options (agenda item 10), we recommend caution. Although we understand that the HMO option is in distress due to rapidly rising costs, it is difficult to evaluate the proposed self-funded Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) alternative because neither estimates of the rates nor the methodology to set the rates have been provided. The Board should ask for a better understanding before proceeding. We are also concerned about the rushed implementation of an entirely new program.

    Our biggest reservation is that the higher risks requiring a $10M to $15M increase in the Catastrophic Reserves are proposed to be absorbed by Excess Reserves from the CDHP program. Those Excess Reserves were created on the shoulders of CDHP participants and, arguably, retirees who were moved along with their higher risk pool to the Medicare Exchange. The Excess Reserves from the CDHP should not be used to fund the Catastrophic Reserves for a new EPO plan. Instead, if an EPO is implemented, it should be priced to fund its own share of the Catastrophic Reserves over an appropriate phase-in period of several years. To reduce the rate impact, the confidence level for the EPO catastrophic reserves could be phased in, reaching the desirable 95% level after a few years. That is what would necessarily happen with a completely new self-funded program, or if there were no excess reserves in another program. The existing Catastrophic Reserve does provide a buffer in case of poor EPO experience during the phase-in period.

    Thank you. 

  • 29 Nov 2017 2:12 PM | Deleted user

    The following testimony was provided to the PEBP Board by NFA Legislative Liaison Kent Ervin, on behalf of NFA:

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance (NFA) is the statewide association of faculty at all eight NSHE institutions, most of whom participate in the Public Employees’ Benefits Program along with other state employees. We are the state affiliate of the American Association of University Professors.

    Thank you again for your hard work in managing our health benefits program. With the CDHP plan, we again see a situation of unallocated reserves well in excess of the actuarial prediction. While that is certainly more pleasant to deal with than a shortfall, it means that the CDHP participants have not received all the benefits that they could have received with the level of funding from both employee and employer contributions. While retroactive changes are not possible, the excess reserves need to be used to “pay back” equitably those participants that helped create it.

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance recommends the following priorities for use of excess reserves, highest priorities first, beyond continuing existing PY18 plan features and the recommended cost-containment strategies (which we support):

    1) Employee contributions to CDHP premiums should not increase in dollar amount for FY19 over FY18. An unknown amount might be needed for rate stabilization.

    2) Maintain/restore the $2-per-month contribution for retirees on the Medicare Exchange. The Exchange retirees are the only group who were not taken care of at all with legislative action in 2017, and they have arguably contributed to the build-up of the reserves by removing higher risk older individuals from the CDHP risk pool. Estimated cost $5.43M. Continuing this funding needs to be a high priority request at the next legislature.

    3) Add the preventive 3D mammography, at the low cost of $0.22M, as a base plan feature.

    4) Reduce the deductible and maximum out-of-pocket cost for CDHP participants. This helps most those who actually have high health care needs during the plan year (as opposed to increasing the HSA/HRA contribution for everyone). Specifically, we recommend reducing the deductible to the IRS minimum for a HDHP of $1350 (individual, double for families) and reducing the maximum out-of-pocket cost from $3900 to $3000, for an estimated total cost of $6.92M. The deductible would increase with the IRS minimum in future years, the out-of-pocket could be kept to at least twice the deductible, and this is one of the easiest design features to adjust in case of future shortfalls.

    5) Restore a vision benefit, at a maximum estimated cost of $1.22M assuming 100% utilization. Workers and retirees need good, fully-corrected eyesight to do their jobs and live comfortably. This should be a base benefit.

    6) Use the remainder of excess reserves to increase HSA/HRA contributions as a one-time spend-down. A $300/year increase in the HSA/HRA would cost $7.09M. We prefer the no-strings-attached option because future funding for a matching program is uncertain. It could be delayed until January 2019 in case of unanticipated contingencies.

    That represents a total of $20.88M, which roughly matches the available funds, not including rate stabilization if required.

    Thank you for the opportunity to provide this input. 

  • 02 Oct 2017 10:30 AM | Deleted user
    Successful opposition to salary memo
    On July 24th, 2017, then-Acting Chancellor Jane Nichols issued a memo to the Council of Presidents calling for a freeze on various types of internally-funded salary adjustments.

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance opposed this memo. We spoke to legislators, Chancellor Thom Reilly, and ultimately raised the issue in testimony at the Board of Regents.

    NFA efforts proved successful, as Chancellor Thom Reilly has now issued a clarification memo rescinding most of the Nichols' memo.

    Resolution on salary
    At it's recent Sep. 9th meeting, the NFA State Board voted unanimously to approve the following resolution regarding faculty compensation:

    "NFA supports putting NSHE community colleges back on the step system for faculty salary increases, and that these increases be funded by the legislature, consistent with K-12 and state employees.

    NFA supports merit pay for NSHE universities and the state college, funded by the state or by the institutions."

    NFA will advocate for this viewpoint in all appropriate forums. To that end, we have submitted a list of three names to NSHE for consideration as possible nominees to the legislature's AB 202 committee, which will study faculty compensation along with the affordability and accessibility of higher education for Nevada students.

    Our recommended nominees are:
    Jeff Downs, WNC
    Glenn Miller, UNR
    Sandra Owens, UNLV

  • 22 Sep 2017 1:40 PM | Deleted user

    At the September Regents' meeting, NFA delivered the following testimony opposing then-Acting Chancellor Jane Nichols' memo ordering a freeze on various kinds of internally-funded faculty salary adjustments:

    Good morning Regents. My name is David Steel, S-T-E-E-L. I am the Executive Director of the Nevada Faculty Alliance, an organization representing faculty with members at all NSHE institutions, and the collective bargaining agent for faculty at TMCC, WNC, and CSN.

    I am here to express NFA's opposition to a memo issued by then-acting Chancellor Jane Nichols on July 24, 2017, ordering that NSHE institutions put a freeze on certain types of internally-funded salary adjustments. I am attaching the memo for the record.

    Internally-funded salary adjustments represent a small fraction of overall salary movement for faculty. However, this small portion is important, as can be seen in former Chancellor John White's March 2017 memo to Governor Sandoval's office, which showed how NSHE institutions have repeatedly made use of these processes over the last several years.

    Our first point of opposition to the memo is that such a dictate from the system office is unduly restrictive on the autonomy of the institutions to act as they see necessary regarding faculty salary.

    Our second point of opposition is that this memo has stalled our ongoing collective bargaining negotiations, of which we have two. At one school, it caused Administration to rescind without substitute the salary proposal they had made.

    Our third point of opposition is that the memo instructs the institutions to act contrary to the Procedures and Guidelines Manual. Chapter Three calls for an equity review of faculty salaries to be conducted on a biannual basis. But we've already had one institution state that it will not do a mandated equity study because of this memo.

    Our fourth point of opposition is that Jane Nichols used AB 202 as justification for the salary freeze. AB 202 is a 2017 bill that calls for studies regarding various aspects of NSHE, including one of faculty compensation. We spoke with sponsors of the bill AB 202, as well as other legislators who voted for the bill. They clearly expressed that it was not their intention for the bill to be used as a rationale to freeze internally-funded salary adjustments for faculty.

    Our final point in opposition of this memo is that we NFA, the bargaining agent for faculty at three NSHE institutions, were not consulted before-hand. Neither, as far as we can tell, were any faculty senates.

    To conclude, this memo ordering a freeze on various types of internally-funded faculty salary adjustments: (1) handcuffs institutional autonomy; (2) interferes with collective bargaining negotiations; and (3) goes against the Procedures and Guidelines Manual.

    We have spoken to Chancellor Thom Reilly about this matter. He has taken it under consideration, but has not yet formally responded. NFA asks that the Nichols memo be rescinded or at least mitigated, by Thom Reilly or if not, then by the Regents, so that the institutions can proceed with providing salary incentives to improve faculty retention, morale, and success.
  • 14 Jun 2017 10:58 AM | Deleted user

    The 2017 Session of the Nevada Legislature adjourned on June 5 and Governor Sandoval has until Friday, June 16 to sign or veto bills. My full legislative wrap-up summary is linked here. NFA’s final bill watch list is here.

    One outstanding bill of faculty interest is SB200, which promotes computer science education in high schools (good), but mandates that NSHE accept a computer science course as substitute for math or science credits for college admission (bad for college math preparation especially for STEM majors and an overreach of legislative authority over curricular issues). Contact the Governor here.

    Governor Sandoval will hold bill-signing ceremonies at UNLV on Thursday 6/15 (SB457, SB548, SB 553) and at UNR on Friday 6/16 (AB69, AB522, SB546).

    Thank you very much for your support during the session and for contacting Senators and Assemblymembers on legislative issues.

    Best regards,

    Kent Ervin, Legislative Liaison

    Nevada Faculty Alliance

  • 07 Jun 2017 2:20 PM | Deleted user

    NFA’s full post-session bill watch list is posted here. Bills of interest on the Governor’s desk for approval or veto are listed below.

    The big news from 11:50 pm on the final day of the session is the passage of SB368, which adds a 1% COLA each year of the biennium for all state employees including NSHE classified staff, academic faculty and administrative faculty, on a party line vote in the Senate and a few Republicans supporting in the Assembly. This is in addition to the 2% each year in AB517 and already signed into law. Contact the Governor to urge him to sign SB368 (and to take action on other bills listed below). Deadline for signatures is June 16, but action may happen any day.

    Other bills on Governor’s desk as of 6/6 awaiting signature or veto (BOLD for split votes or signature uncertain):

    AB94 NV Grow Program. $125K to CSN.

    AB407 Audit of Cooperative Extension and designates UNLV and DRI in addition to UNR as Land Grant institutions. Hearing 5/24 Passed Assembly 30-12, Passed Senate 15-6, north/south split.

    AB475 Kickstart program for College Savings Plan--accounts for kindergartners. Amended to add eligibility for graduate credits to Nv Pre-paid Tuition Program.

    AB511 $20M appropriation to Millenium Scholarship fund.

    AB522 $300K for NevadaTeach at UNR.

    SB200 Allows computer science/tech courses to count toward math requirement for H.S. graduation, college admission, and Millenium Scholarship. NSHE opposed to changing college admission requirement which would reduce math preparation.

    SB306 $300K to CSN for prison education pilot program.

    SB391 $3.5 M for Nevada Promise scholarship for community college students, with community service requirements.

    SB457 NSHE must award credit toward degrees for military training per a standards organization.

    SB478 Provisions for handling allegations against state workers including NSHE. Adds notice requirements. Changes time limits.

    SB546 Capital improvements projects statewide including UNR Engineering, UNLV Hotel Mgmt, CSN/NSC health science bldg, others. Failed 2/3 supermajority 12-9 in Senate. Passed re-vote 15-6 in Senate on 6/4 with Marijuana Tax/Opportunity Scholarships compromise. Passed Assy 34-8. To Governor.

    SB548 $1M for Nevada Teaching Institute to garner philanthropic gift. Not certain from hearing at which NSHE institution.

    SB551 PEBP employer contributions authorization, includes increases to cover rising medical costs.

    SB553 UNLV Engineering Bldg planning & design $1.75M match from general fund . Amended on final day to add $25M match for UNLV Med School building to anonymous donation. Reportedly part of deal for passage of SB546.

    Best regards,

    Kent Ervin, Legislative Liaison

    Nevada Faculty Alliance

  • 28 May 2017 11:50 AM | Deleted user

    Dear colleagues:

    With a just 10 days left in the Legislative session, time and money are running out for funding of fair compensation for faculty and other state workers. The end game is all about Education Savings Accounts (a.k.a. vouchers). Many lobbyists in the building think their pet bill is the big bargaining chip, but I don’t know of any single cause that is as important to Democrats as ESAs/vouchers seem to be to Republicans. Improved state employee compensation including faculty merit is looking less likely but can still be addressed in the end-of-session compensation bill, which is being drafted now. The NFA is advocating for higher COLAs for all state employees as well as funding of faculty merit. Please contact decision makers with the contact information and talking points at this link.

    Our complete NFA bill watch list is linked here. Bills of particular interest or recent action:

    AB16 & AB407 Cooperative Extension unfunded mandate and north/south split. AB407 was heard on 5/20 Assembly Ways & Means with extensive testimony. New hearings could be scheduled at any time.

    AB188 Expands Silver State Opportunity Grant eligibility down to 12 credits (from 15 currently). Passed Senate with 2 Republican votes and sent to Governor.

    AB202 Interim study of higher education affordability and faculty compensation. Bipartisan passage, to Governor.

    AJR5 Removes Regents from Constitution. Amended in Senate LOE Committee to add academic freedom clause. Passed. Will come back to Legislature in 2019.

    SB384 Amended to make PERS info confidential except name, pension amount, and last employer, as favored by Governor. Passed on party lines, to Governor.

    SB486. Collective bargaining for state Classified employees. NFA testimony in support of including NSHE employees.

    SB502. Adds 2nd NSHE representative to PEBP Board and refines RFP procedures for PEBP and Nevada Deferred Comp. Passed unanimously in both houses and sent to Governor.

    Best regards,

    Kent Ervin, Legislative Liaison

    Nevada Faculty Alliance

  • 21 May 2017 10:01 AM | Deleted user

    Dear colleagues:

    The NSHE budgets closed this week with only modest changes versus the Governor’s budget. The faculty merit pool is not funded, but state employee compensation including merit can still be addressed in the end-of-session compensation bill. The NFA is advocating for higher COLAs for all state employees as well as funding of faculty merit. Please contact decision makers with the contact information and talking points at this link.

    Good news on capital improvement projects: UNLV Hotel School Building furnishings and UNR Engineering Building funded. Planning and design for CSN/NSC Health Science building funded. Planning and design for NSC Education building approved but not yet funded.

    Our complete NFA bill watch list is linked here. Governor Sandoval has indicated he is more likely to veto bills without bipartisan support in Legislature, so partisan bills are likely to survive only with an end-of-session deal. Bills of particular interest or recent action:

    AB16 & AB407 Cooperative Extension unfunded mandate and north/south split. In Assembly Ways & Means; hearings could be scheduled at any time.

    AB188 Expands Silver State Opportunity Grant eligibility down to 12 credits (from 15 currently). Needs bipartisan support in Senate.

    AB202 Interim study of higher education affordability and faculty compensation. Passed, to Governor.

    AB390 Whistleblower act and NSHE SAGE Commission. Died on 5/19 deadline.

    AJR5 Removes Regents from Constitution. Amended in Senate LOE Committee to add academic freedom clause. To Senate floor.

    SB384 PERS retiree privacy. Held for vote in Assembly for possible amendment. Needs bipartisan support.

    Best regards,

    Kent Ervin, Legislative Liaison

    Nevada Faculty Alliance


  • 08 May 2017 9:26 AM | Deleted user

    NFA Legislative Update 5/7/2017 by Kent Ervin

    While our biggest push during the final weeks of the Legislature needs to be on faculty compensation, there are other bills with important impacts good and bad. See our full bill watch list here. Regarding the priority bills under consideration this week listed below, please take a few minutes to express your opinion on the Share Your Opinion page, contact your own Legislators, or contact the legislative committee members listed at the committee links below. NFA positions below are those approved by the state board.

    Hearings scheduled

    AB202(R1) Interim study on affordability for students at NSHE colleges & universities. Includes study of faculty compensation. Passed Assembly 41-1. Hearing Tuesday May 9 in Senate Education Committee. NFA supports. SUPPORT AB202 as amended 4/19/2017 on the Share Your Opinion page.

    AJR5(R1) Constitutional amendment to remove Board of Regents, its authority, duties, and election requirement from Nevada Constitution. The Board would still be in statute, but its composition, election, and duties could be changed by any future legislature. NFA opposed. Passed Assembly 38-4. Hearing Monday May 8 in the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee. OPPOSE AJR5 as amended 4/24/2017 on the on the Share Your Opinion page.

    AB390(R1) Companion bill to AJR5. Spending and Governmental Efficiency (SAGE) commission for NSHE. Expands whistleblower protections for state employees who expose false statements by state officials and employees to Legislators. Passed Assembly 42-0. Hearing Monday May 8 in the Senate Legislative Operations and Elections Committee. NFA opposes the SAGE commission because of past negative experience with business-oriented SAGE commissions. NFA opposes the current over-broad bill language on whistleblower protection (taken literally would prevent supervisory action to influence the behavior of any state employee), although the basic concept is good. Select AB390 as amended 4/24/2017 on the Share Your Opinion page.

    Heard, committee votes needed

    SB384(R1) Makes confidential the personal information about PERS retirees, including names, except ID number, employer, retirement date, years of service, annual pension. 18% of NSHE active faculty are covered by PERS. Would prevent future publishing of names with pension amounts of PERS retirees. NFA supports. Needs to be passed out of the Assembly Government Affairs Committee. Support SB384 as amended 4/20/2017 on the Share Your Opinion page.

    SB502(R1) As amended, adds 2nd NSHE representative to PEBP Board and fixes RFP procedures for PEBP and the Deferred Compensation Program. NFA opposed original version of SB502, but we worked with our public employee coalition partners and the Department of Administration to create a good bill. SUPPORT SB502 as amended 4/24/1017 on the Share Your Opinion page. Needs to be passed out of the Senate Finance Committee.

    Hearings not scheduled yet

    AB16(R1) and AB407(R1) Cooperative Extension reorganization and funding. Exempt and referred to Assembly Ways & Means Committee with no hearing date set. NFA has serious concerns about the unfunded mandate in AB16, although increased funding for Cooperative Extension programs would be good in principle. NFA is opposed to how AB407 would impinge on faculty employee rights, causing terminations of southern Extension faculty under financial exigency by July 1 with no assurance of rehiring by a new Southern Cooperative Extension program. Select AB16 as amended 4/24/2017 and AB407 as amended 4/24/2017 on the Share Your Opinion page.

    The best way to contact Legislators is by phone, or e-mail from a personal account preferably outside of regular work hours. On merit pay and other compensation issues in particular, also encourage friends of our colleges and universities to contact their legislators in support of faculty and students.

    Best regards,

    Kent Ervin

    Nevada Faculty Alliance Legislative Liaison

  • 24 Apr 2017 9:10 PM | Deleted user


    Rob Manis, CSN

    Fellow NFA members,

    As all of you know, higher education has been under assault for years by those who wish to outsource, privatize and corporatize our jobs. At the same time our wages have been stagnant and our benefits getting worse and worse. We need to reverse those trends, difficult as it may be.

    I have been an NFA member since I was hired at CSN in 1998, and have been CSN Membership Chair and Chapter President. In the last four years, I have helped turn around the chapter and together we recruited over 100 new members culminating in winning collective bargaining rights in 2016.

    I have also been active in the state NFA board for nearly four years, serving as state Vice President and Legal Coordinator for the last two.

    I have a Ph.D in Sociology from UC Santa Barbara, and prior to coming to Nevada taught Organizational Development for 6 years as an adjunct at the McLaren Business School at University of San Francisco. I believe my academic background and experience will also come in handy in continuing to move the state organization forward.

    I am progressive in my politics and will fight hard to preserve the rights of faculty in higher education against those who would abridge or corporatize them. But I am also experienced in working with people of all political agendas and believe in a “big tent” where we all can work together to advance the interests of all students, faculty members and their families in Nevada.

    I will fight hard to increase the clout of NFA, to improve lobbying and support membership growth and collective bargaining in any chapter that is interested.

    Vice President

    Jeff Downs, WNC

    Hello, my name is Jeff Downs and I am a tenured Mathematics faculty member at Western Nevada College. I have been a member of the Nevada Faculty Alliance since 2004, when I was hired at WNC, and a chapter president for three years.

    In 2012, when serving WNC as the Faculty Senate Chair, I was part of the team that worked with the Regents and the Chancellor to allow a vote at WNC to bring Collective Bargaining to our college. I am currently second chair on the Collective Bargaining renegotiating team. I believe in the principals of Collective Bargaining and believe Faculty Rights need to be protected and expanded, regardless of Collective Bargaining status.

    I would appreciate the honor of serving as a State Vice President to help grow the NFA, represent the State Board in the North, and support the next State President. I hope you will consider voting for me.

    Shari Lyman, CSN

    I am honored to be nominated for Nevada Faculty Alliance State Vice President.

    I have been a member of the CSN NFA Chapter since 1990 both as a part-time Economics and Mathematics instructor and now as a full-time tenured professor of Economics, Women’s Studies, and Latin American Studies.

    I teach onground, online, and hybrid classes in the 16-week, 8-week, and 4-week formats.

    I served as the CSN NFA Chapter President from 2008 to 2010.

    I served as NFA State Treasurer from 2011-2015

    I continue to be an active member of CSN NFA and AAUP.

    Also, I serve on the CSN Women’s Alliance, the Social Sciences Pedagogy Committee, and various other college committees, department committees, and community organizations such as 4-H, Boy Scouts of America, Moapa Valley Community Education Advisory Board, and the Clark County School District Attendance Zone Advisory Commission.

    I value my membership and leadership experiences with NFA due to the work and support NFA provides for its members and all faculty members in Nevada’s System of Higher Education.

    As Vice President I will serve the NFA members throughout NSHE as an advocate for academic freedom, shared governance, and legal defense. I will advocate on behalf of positive work and learning environments that include access, inclusion, and diversity for all faculty, staff, and students.

    I will continue to work actively with the institutions, administrations, NSHE, and the State of Nevada legislators to support, fund, and promote higher education for all of Nevada.

    I am committed to the fundamental mission of NFA to ensure academic freedom, shared governance, and economic security for all of Nevada’s higher education faculty and staff for the benefit of our students.


    Jennifer Nelson, CSN

    Despite having no opponent in this race for State NFA Treasurer, I write this candidate statement to affirm that I do not take your vote for granted. Instead, I take this opportunity to brief you on some of my accomplishments from my current term in this office. From retiring an AAUP back dues debt one year early and controlling operational expenses to preparing and presenting accurate, clear semi-annual financial reports and realistic budgets to support State Board planning and decision-making, I have maintained our organization’s sound financial condition. To update State NFA’s adherence to fiscal best practices for non-profits, I have written and received State Board approval for financial operating policy that delineates procedures for planning, approving, reimbursing, and annual budgeting of NFA chapters’ events and activities. As your steward of the dues you pay to NFA and AAUP, I pledge to continue putting forward my best effort to manage State NFA’s finances effectively. I hope I have earned your vote.

    Thank you,

    Jennifer S. Nelson, Ph.D.


    Andrea Brown, CSN

    I would like to respectfully express my hope to continue to serve as NFA Secretary for the 2017-2019 term.

    I have been an AAUP member for 10 years and joined Nevada Faculty Alliance in 2013 shortly after joining the Department of Human Behavior at the College of Southern Nevada. As a full time faculty member, I have been a member of a variety of department and college-wide committees including, hiring and convocation. Furthermore, I have provided a number of professional development workshops and conference presentations related to instruction, student success, diversity and inclusion.

    I was elected NFA-CSN Secretary in 2014 and re-elected in 2016. Over the past three years, I have developed strong working relationships with chapter leadership. As a NFA-CSN member, I have been a member of the political action committee and met with legislators to advocate for faculty and ascertain their support for legislative efforts that benefit higher education in Nevada. Additionally, I have been a member of the NFA-CSN Organizing Committee for collective bargaining where I gained invaluable insight into organizing, and along with other dedicated faculty--contributed to our collective bargaining victory.

    My service to NFA has been rewarding and has provided me with invaluable learning and training experiences. I am hard-working, dedicated and committed to our cause. If re-elected, I will continue to push our organization forward. Thank you for your consideration.

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