The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 27, 2012

MSSU board to vote on raises for employees

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Missouri Southern State University Board of Governors will vote today on whether to raise employees’ salaries next year.

The pay raise, which would amount to a 3 percent increase, will be recommended by the board’s Budget and Audit Committee to the full board during a telephone conference call on the MSSU campus.

Rod Anderson, chairman of the budget committee, said raises have not been given in at least four years and are needed to help retain qualified faculty and staff members.

“We had said earlier that trying to get a pay raise was going to be of the utmost importance,” he said Wednesday. “After four years not giving your employees a pay raise, you want to keep the valued employees that you’ve got.”

The budget committee, during a meeting Tuesday night, accepted a recommendation from MSSU administrators that pay raises be given.

“Our faculty and staff are the heartbeat of this university,” President Bruce Speck said in a statement. “We are all here for one thing — to serve our students. But to be good servants and to do our best work, we must feel valued. Using part of the funding to increase compensation is a way to say thank you to our employees for their hard work and dedication to the university.”

The salary increase would be funded by an additional $1.8 million that MSSU is expected to receive from Gov. Jay Nixon, who on Friday signed the state’s budget, allocating $21.9 million for the Joplin school.

“In the original budget, we had to plan for the worst, hoping for the best,” Anderson said. “With this expected increase in funds, we were able to, I think in good conscience, give a pay increase. After all, they did deserve it, as many years as they’ve not had one.”

The board last month approved a $72.4 million budget based on an expected $1.7 million — or 7.8 percent — reduction in state funding. That amount had initially been cut from Missouri Southern in a proposal by Nixon. Legislators later restored the funds plus an additional $346,000 for the university, and administrators had hoped that Nixon would keep that amount — which would have been about $2 million — in the budget.

The version signed by Nixon withheld 1 percent of MSSU’s core appropriations and 10 percent of its equity funding, resulting in an extra $1.8 million with only $260,000 being withheld from the school, said Rob Yust, vice president for business affairs.

“It’s a lot less significant than what we thought it was going to be, so we are pretty pleased with that,” he said.

The pay increase, if approved, would take effect at the start of the university’s fiscal year on Sunday.

Faculty promotions

PART OF THE PROPOSAL in front of the MSSU Board of Governors calls for faculty promotions that were given during the spring to be awarded next year instead of being phased in over three years as originally planned.

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