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TribBlog: No Raises at UT

The latest victim of the budget crunch at the University of Texas at Austin? Employee raises.

University of Texas President Bill Powers announces UT's commitment to the Big 12 Conference.

The latest victim of the budget crunch at the University of Texas? Employee raises.

UT President William Powers Jr. sent a letter to faculty and staff this week explaining that, with a few exceptions, raises would not be available in the next fiscal year — but that one-time, merit-based increases (a.k.a., bonuses) would. Everyone is eligible for those bonuses, but not everyone will get them.

Here's Powers' letter, which he posted on his blog:

Recently I shared with you information that all Texas state agencies have been asked to plan for a possible 10% budget reduction in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 fiscal years. This is in addition to the 5% budget reduction that we had already made at the request of the state for the current biennium.

In light of this additional directive from the state and the increasing uncertainty about its implications for our financial future, the University Budget Council reached the decision that UT cannot afford to commit to permanent salary increases for fiscal year 2010-11. However, the Budget Council concluded that we can prudently implement a one-time, merit-based salary payment program for both faculty and staff. The raise pool amounts to approximately 2% of total current compensation for faculty and staff.

These merit-based, one-time salary increases will be administered in the form of a single payment, probably in November of this year. All employees are eligible for consideration, but not all employees will receive this one-time merit payment.

There are some exceptions: For example, employees whose salaries are funded through external grants (“26 accounts”) will be eligible for permanent merit-based increases.  There may be other employees in self-supporting units who could receive permanent increases.  Salary increases that result from faculty promotions will be permanent.  Performance-based contract obligations will be honored. And in some cases, it may be necessary to consider and respond to individual employment circumstances.

All one-time merit payments will be included in computations that determine retirement benefits in the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) and in the Optional Retirement Program (ORP).

While not ideal, we believe this plan is our best course of action.  We will continue to look for creative ways to deal with budget challenges in the future.  I appreciate your hard work, dedication, and service to UT, which are all the more crucial in this difficult economic period.  Thank you for your commitment to the University.

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