Campus News - 2001 Legislative Supplement January 16, 2001

Compensation again tops UNM legislative priorities
60 day session begins today

By Frank D. Martinez, Director of Public Affairs

As in recent years, UNM’s number one legislative priority for the upcoming 2001 session — a 60-day session that begins today, Tuesday, Jan. 16 — will be increased compensation for faculty and staff. UNM is seeking a seven percent compensation package increase.

As it was for 2000-01, UNM’s funding requirements statement for 2001-02 is focused on issues that are high priorities for all six of the state’s four-year institutions. The Council of University Presidents, which consists of the presidents of each of the six
four-year schools, has met and identified its highest priorities. The Council’s four top priorities, from highest to lowest, are: compensation increases at seven percent; full formula and workload funding; the inclusion of the institutional support portion of the formula in the formula compensation base; and the inclusion of so-called “Regents’ Tuition” in the formula calculations.
The Council further agreed that there are other high level funding priorities for higher education, including adjustments for colleges of education and the UNM Health Sciences Center as well as building renewal and replacement and equipment renewal and replacement.

In fiscal year 1999-00, the six four-year institutions agreed that they wanted to initiate a multi-year compensation request that would, over a five-year period, bring salaries into parity with salaries for faculty at peer institutions and up to competitive market levels for staff. In order to reach that goal, the institutions requested an eight percent compensation increase for fiscal year 1999-00 with subsequent increases of five percent for the next four years. The actual appropriations for compensation increases for fiscal years 1999-00 and 2000-01 were only 4.5 and 3.0 percent, respectively. The institutions, however, will continue to pursue their goal of bringing faculty and staff salaries up to the average of peers over the three remaining years.

Priority No. 1 — Compensation Increases for Faculty and Staff

UNM believes compensation must again be its highest priority. President William C. Gordon continues to express his concerns that the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and staff depends upon competitive compensation.

The most recently completed study of salaries for faculty in the UNM peer institutions reveals that UNM faculty salaries are now only 90.5 percent of the salaries of faculty at the UNM peer institutions. Identification of peer groups for staff salaries is a more complex process than that for faculty because some staff salaries must be compared to the local market, others to the regional market and others to the national higher education market. However, a recent Council of University Presidents’ survey reveals that UNM staff salaries are at least 10 percent below market rates.

Notably, this year the New Mexico Commission on Higher Education (CHE) also is recommending a seven percent compensation increase. The Legislative Finance Committee also is proposing a seven percent compensation increase, while the Executive (Governor’s) Budget recommends a 3.5 percent compensation increase.

Priority No. 2 — I & G Workload and Base Adjustments

UNM’s second-highest priority is full funding of the formulas used to compute Main Campus, Extended Services and Branch Campus Instruction and General (I&G) funding, as well as workload and base adjustments for I&G at the Health Sciences Center. UNM requires a base adjustment to offset the recent sharp price increases in natural gas. UNM is also projecting a deficit in its 2000-01 utility budget and is requesting an appropriation to eliminate that deficit.

Priority No. 3 — Instruction and General Enhancements

Enhancements to UNM’s Instruction and General (I&G) budget line is the third highest priority. Included in this category is funding to enhance the institution’s educational activities.

Priority No. 4 — Special Projects: Base Adjustments, Expansion and New Programs

UNM’s fourth highest priority is for funding for Special Projects, including base adjustments, expansion and new programs. Requested base adjustments include $266,800 for the Cancer Research and Treatment Center; $241,200 for the Newborn Intensive Care Unit; and $296,300 for the Ted R. Montoya Hemophilia Program to cover the increased cost of new, safer blood factor products for hemophilia patients.

 

This year, UNM’s Budget Subcommittee recommended that the list of Special Project priorities be limited to 11 requests for new funding. These requests total $2,138,890 for projects that include Accessibility Services for Disabled, Toxic Emergency Response Program, Manufacturing Engineering, Judicial Education Center, BBER Census Project, Latin American Data Base, Young Children’s Health Center Behavioral Services and Morrissey Hall, among others. UNM also requested capital project funding in the amount of $69.7 million for campus improvement projects.

The University’s “Legislative Priorities” website (www.unm.edu/advancement/legislative) contains additional information about the University’s funding requests. The website will be updated during the legislative session and will include information about the recommendations of the Commission on Higher Education, the Legislative Finance Committee and the Executive, as well as major actions by the Legislature relative to UNM’s request.

 

The University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico USA
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