BOT approves salary increases

By Kyla Gardner

Salary increases announced Thursday by the NIU Board of Trustees will affect 83 percent of faculty and 84 percent of supportive professional staff.

The increases will cost $1.8 million for the 2011 fiscal year and $3.4 million for the 2012 fiscal year.

NIU faculty, staff and graduate assistants will see their salaries increase Jan. 1 in accordance with a three-teired system based on current salary. Employees earning under $99,000 per year will receive a 2.5 percent increase, while those earning between $100,000 and $149,000 will see a 2 percent increase. Finally, those earning greater than $150,000 will see a 1.75 percent increase to their salary.

Merit increases will also be awarded to the “most productive and accomplished faculty,” according to an e-mail from NIU President John Peters to staff and faculty.

Peters said he is sensitive “to the plight of employees who have had to pay out of pocket for health care.”

“This is something to show the good stewardship of the university by providing those that are on the front line with the resources, to say that we are still here during the financial crisis,” said Student Trustee Robert Sorsby

The pay increases will be funded by the reorganization of internal revenue saved over the last two years through fiscal cutbacks, Peters said.

NIU cut costs by implementing a hiring freeze in 2009 for all non-critical positions and limiting travel and training budgets, said NIU spokesperson Joe King.

“The university squeezed every nickel, which has resulted in some savings and that money will be applied towards funding these increases,” King said.

Tuition money is and has been one of the main sources of funding for salaries, he said, so past tuition increases will also contribute to pay raises.

According to Peters’ e-mail, “in the event of catastrophic fiscal failure,” the BOT has the right to consider any changes that may need to be made.

Peters did point out in his e-mail, however, that this is unlikely to happen, but fiscal stability must be monitored “given the precarious financial situation.”