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Public Comment to the PCC Board

posted May 8, 2019, 8:16 PM by Ana Jiménez

5/8/2019
Good evening, Board members, chair Clinco, chancellor Lambert, colleagues & guests,

My name is Matej Boguszak, and I serve as President of PCCEA, the faculty association.

This is a busy and exciting time, as we help guide our students to a successful finish and celebrate their accomplishments - it really puts things into perspective. We are also reviewing all those new personnel policies we talked about last week, which are now up for comment. There are still some bumps in the road, but the administration is committed to working through them this month so that the new employee handbook can go online in July.

As things stand, the majority of rewritten policies are either reasonable compromises addressing the needs of both employees and management, or they actually represent an improvement in efficiency and accountability. I am cautiously optimistic that we can come to a common understanding on the few remaining issues where differences remain and commend the administrative team for taking our input seriously, even if we don’t always agree.

Tonight, you were presented with a budget for adoption in June, so I’d like to circle back to the comments I made about priorities in January. PCCEA had a number of good, honest discussions with Finance and HR about funding priorities this spring, and I encourage you to do the same in the coming month. If we continue to lose enrollment next year and have to further shrink and underpay our workforce as a result, challenges in recruiting and retaining quality faculty, staff, and administrators will grow, and it will become increasingly important to scrutinize every expense.

Despite retirement savings to the College, the faculty have not seen a Step in 5 years - certainly, this is a challenging time due to EL. But in addition, we are being told that even if there was money available to spend, our Step Progression Plan would not be honored, even though it is tied to a comprehensive annual performance evaluation and was authorized by you and the chancellor just two years ago.

Recently hired faculty look around and only see increasing work responsibilities, with no hope for advancement anytime soon, so more and more are eyeing the exits. We are giving the faculty more busy work and needlessly irritate them with petty proposed requirements like mandatory wearing of badges, requests for personal days way too far in advance, taking away the W option as a way to encourage students to persist, etc. The faculty see that the College is able to prioritize raises and competitiveness for select administrators but unwilling to do the same for instructors and other front-line employees.

I honestly worry that we spend substantial amounts on marketing, branding, signs, and feel-good stories, but meanwhile the core and soul and leadership of the institution is in danger of rotting away if we don’t tend to it more closely. I understand there are competing priorities, many of them critical - IT, police, improving registration, the website, and of course hiring great teachers and leaders - but we have to make sure that we strike the right balance. Let us all make sure that we spend our scarce resources wisely and work together on making it happen.

Thank you for all your work and service, and see you at graduation!

Open Letter to Administration 2019.04.25

posted Apr 28, 2019, 8:44 PM by Ana Jiménez


from:Boguszak, Matej <mboguszak@pima.edu>
to:Lee Lambert <llambert@pima.edu>,
Dolores Duran-Cerda <dcerda@pima.edu>,
Jeffrey Lanuez <jlanuez@pima.edu>
cc:"Schmidt, Kate" <kschmidt@pima.edu>,
"Silvyn, Jeffrey" <jsilvyn@pima.edu>,
"Bea, David" <dbea@pima.edu>,
"Goldstein, Sasha" <sgoldstein5@pima.edu>,
Tom Davis <tom.davis@pima.edu>,
Ted Roush <troush@pima.edu>,
PCCEAEXEC <PCCEAEXEC@pima.edu>
Good evening, Lee, Dolores, and Jeffrey,

I look forward to our meeting on Monday morning! My apologies for the late agenda, but here are some items we would like to discuss.
  1. Budget Priorities Follow-up.
    • Leapfrogging. This is an urgent matter affecting morale and competitiveness that PCCEA seeks to fix now for 2019/20. There is precedent for this, and the budgetary impact is relatively minor.

    • Administration Response (Letter from 3/29). We appreciate the thorough attempt to address our concerns but take issue with several statements and methods used to support the administrative argument. You can find a few serious examples below, which we would like to touch on, but ultimately a more focused discussion needs to take place sometime soon, ideally with EVC Dave Bea who wrote this part of the response and can best address specifics.

    • Meet and Confer on Compensation. We hear this should be happening, but there are less than four weeks left in the semester. Please clarify the timeline and parameters for this discussion.

  2. Update on the Policy Rewrite
    • Timeline. PCCEA continues to be concerned about the timeline, which would require us to send all remaining policies for 21-day comment by next week. Even if the policies were all ready for release, that would be be an inappropriately large amount of information for the faculty to review during the busiest time of the semester and ultimately result in much suppressed feedback. We also couldn't get meaningful input from our constituents on finalizing any agreements after the comment period.
      The delay is not the employees' fault. Although Traaen provided its (lack of) product last summer or early fall, almost no substantive policy discussions took place with the resolution team until the end of January. We have accomplished a lot since then, and I commend Ted and Aubrey on their hard work and genuine effort to incorporate our input.
      If we are to call this new AERC process without Board involvement a success, we cannot rush through major changes over the summer. It would have far-reaching political ramifications and be highly unpleasant for all of us. I think we can reasonably update and improve 90% of policy, including important provisions (e.g. RIF, Discipline, Transfers, Representation) and officially publish our electronic handbook, but we may have to adopt certain language as is and pick up the work in the fall.
      Given the baffling delays with, say, the College website spanning 5-10 years, that seems most reasonable.

    • PCCEA seeks more clarity from administration on the following policy items and what changes are sought:
  3. Faculty Hiring/Reductions
    • Late Hiring. Despite efforts over the last few years, we continue to fall far behind the academic hiring cycle year after year, which costs us top candidates. Positions are posted late, interviews are late, and offers routinely aren't made until May, about 2-3 months late. Over time, this has a tremendously detrimental effect on the quality of our workforce. Good instructors are probably the #1 reason why students choose a College, and we are simply not planning far enough in advance to secure them.
      Given the current FACT deadline, we are again on track to not only notify any faculty being laid off unnecessarily late, but more importantly we will be late with hiring yet again next year. We have 5 months to plan now; that should be ample time to identify where to hire and reduce.

    • Reduction Targets for All Areas. Faculty staffing is now tied to a 50:1 FTSE:FTFE (general fund) ratio and used to justify position reductions. What are comparable reduction targets/measures for other operational units? The faculty see waste, questionable positions, and various slush funds in the budget and would be better able to bear the pain of layoffs and declining pay in real terms if they could see more clearly how it is part of equitable belt-tightening across the College.

  4. ODR
    • Discuss appropriate oversight of this nominally independent and critically important office.
    • Schedule a time to review examples of investigations that were considered flawed and complaints/grievances that were dismissed with insufficient reasons provided.

  5. Inclusion of Counselors at Study Session.
    • The counselors were not included in coming up with the initial bench marking and parameters being given to a new work group charged with developing a new model for counseling & advising. Since those findings are being presented to the Board on Monday and will set expectations and the scope for work to come, PCCEA again requests that the counselors be allowed speaking time at the Study Session to provide more context. They will be there, regardless.
I am most open to adding additional agenda items but would like to make sure we have sufficient time to address the pressing ones above.

Thank you for taking the time to meet. These conversations can be difficult at times, but I hope we will be able to come to a better mutual understanding, which is crucial for our institution to be successful.

Yours sincerely,

Matej



Issues with the Response (attached)
  • It is blatantly dishonest to claim (twice) that "the College has reduced the number of administrator positions from a peak of 62 in FY2008" and use that as starting point for reductions. 62 is an obvious outlier; according toFinance's own data, we had 56 administrators in FY2007, 53 in FY2009, and came nowhere close to 60 any other year. I am deeply disappointed in such argumentation.
  • The graph on page 3 indicating indicating deeper cuts to administration than faculty salary budgets is inconsistent with the data we have examined, which is based on non-vacant positions only and indicates much deeper % cuts to the faculty salary line. PCCEA seeks to resolve these inconsistencies.
  • "Moderate" pay increases for some administrators (some involving multiple steps and tens of thousands of dollars) are justified by "significantly broader responsibilities". No doubt raises were warranted in some cases, but our point was that while the College was able to prioritize money to fairly compensate select administrators, growing inequities among the faculty resulting from years without Step progression were not deemed worthy of addressing. The faculty have also taken on significantly broader responsibilities (academic/discipline leadership, supervision, advising duties next year, growing SLO reporting demands, attendance, pre-screening applications for minimum qualifications, etc), with no increase in funding. Small disciplines continue to struggle and unfairly over-stretch their faculty because the FTSE-based allocation model does not provide adequate funding to cover all the work that needs to get done.
  • It is pretty outrageous that (some? all?) administrators apparently received a cell phone allowance of over $1940 or $162/month until 2018. Sounds like the allowance is now about $640 or $53/month, about what I pay out of pocket. Why was this still not eliminated completely, years ago? That $640 should either be part of the base salary or not, but this practice is not transparent and looks like a trick to mislead our community. The optics are terrible in these tough times and do not go unnoticed.
  • There was no discernible response to our concern that every year average retirement savings per employee recaptured from the faculty salary line are larger than those for staff or administrators. In other words, faculty appear to bear a disproportionate burden when it comes to helping reduce the budget. Those savings should help make up for the fact that faculty steps are a bit more expensive and be at least partially re-invested into faculty salaries.
  • The fact that some faculty increasingly supplement their pay with overload, which is for work in addition to their contracted duties, is precisely a result of the lack of pay increases in recent years, not an indication that faculty are already paid enough.
--
Matej Boguszak
Mathematics Faculty
Pima Community College

Draft Personnel Policies - public comment

posted Mar 3, 2019, 8:16 AM by Ana Jiménez   [ updated Apr 12, 2019, 7:13 PM ]

Apr 4, 2019
Dear faculty,

Hope your semester is progressing well as we approach the final stretch! Realizing this is a busy time, I wanted to share
  • Summary of Changes for the third set of personnel policies that are now up for 21-day comment. Of particular note are the Sick Leave and Tuition Waiver policies, for which we keep seeing changing drafts that are still lacking important provisions.

  • The April Report to Faculty Senate, which has information about other recent activities. PCCEA will meet with the Chancellor and Provost on April 29 to follow up on our concerns regarding budget priorities and other faculty issues.
More policies will be coming your way shortly. Please don't assume that PCCEA "has got it"... we do have 2-3 hour meetings three times a week, but it is a skeleton crew, and not all of our initial feedback is always incorporated. Please speak up on the policies and issues you care about through the official feedback form and get in touch with me if you'd like to be more closely involved with the policy team.

Have a great weekend,

Matej

--
Matej Boguszak
Mathematics Faculty
Pima Community College

Mar 3, 2019
Dear colleagues,

PCCEA has been meeting with administration weekly to discuss the proposed changes to our personnel policies for next year. We are finally at a stage where the AERC is releasing a second draft of these policies to all employees for 21-day public comment on MyPima @Work (full message below).

Along with taking a hard look at the College budget and advocating for appropriate resources to be devoted to faculty and core services, the policy rewrite is PCCEA's top priority this spring. It is comprehensive in nature, and while there is an opportunity to improve what we do and how we say we do it, it also has the potential to alter all kinds of working conditions and ways we conduct business. It is being done on an ambitious timeline using a new Meet and Confer process, where the Board has delegated all final approval authority to the Chancellor, and it remains to be seen to what extent our input so far is actually incorporated.

It is therefore imperative that we obtain feedback on the new policies from as many of you as possible during public comment. Our request to provide changes to policies in legislative style was denied due to reported logistical issues, so to keep you informed, PCCEA is offering a summaries of changes for each policy, and we will continue to do so for future cohorts. This is to make your task of sifting through the policies more manageable and alert you to any areas where working conditions or the faculty voice may be curtailed. We feel it is important to provide context and draw contrasts with current policy when substantive changes have occurred.

Your voice matters! Please help us keep an eye on this project and provide constructive feedback so that our College can continue to be a great place to teach, learn, and work. There is nothing of major concern in Cohort I released today, but there may be times that we have to call on you for more urgent action to avert disastrous consequences. Please keep an eye out.

PCCEA will hold another open All Faculty Meeting on Friday, March 8, at noon in the Amethyst Room at the Downtown Campus to provide more updates and answer questions. Please don't hesitate to contact me or a campus rep before then.

Hope you all had a chance to enjoy the snow on Friday!

Best regards,

Matej

--
Matej Boguszak
Mathematics Faculty
Pima Community College

On Mon, Feb 25, 2019 at 12:26 PM Wesson, Angie <awesson@pima.edu> wrote:
This message is sent on behalf of Ted Roush, AERC Co-Chair



Dear Colleagues,

After some unexpected delays, I am happy to announce that we have released the first five revised Employee policy topics for your review and input.

To see the new policies, log in to MyPima.  Select your @Work tab.  The newly released policies appear in a box on the left side of your screen under Personnel Policies.

Once you've read over a new policy, you can submit your inputs via the link "Feedback Form" that appears in the same box.

The new policies are written to be concise and direct and are worded with an emphasis on mission fulfillment and service to students.  

In reviewing the new draft policies, you should view the drafts with two questions in mind:

a) What is missing from the draft policy?
b) What needs to be clarified in the draft policy?

If you decide to submit an input, please be as specific as possible. General comments about liking or not liking a new policy are okay, but don't help us improve the draft. Tell us what you believe is missing or needs clarification.  Your name is ALWAYS optional for your inputs.  However, including your name and email with an input can be helpful, especially if we need help in understanding your input.

We will compile all of your inputs (names omitted) and provide responses to each input.

Each set of new draft policies will follow a similar process to what the College uses for new Administrative Procedures.  Each policy will undergo a 21-day comment period.  Once the comment period closes, we'll develop final versions of the policies. Our goal is to release the new policies this June with implementation effective July 1, 2019.

Ted Roush
AERC Co-Chair
Management Lead


AEA Annual Legislative Reception

posted Jan 14, 2019, 7:25 AM by Ana Jiménez


PCCEA January Public Comment

posted Jan 14, 2019, 7:20 AM by Ana Jiménez

PCCEA President, Matej Boguszak, made the following public comment at the Regular January Board meeting on Wednesday, Jan 9, 2019.

Good evening, chair Clinco, chancellor Lambert, Board members, colleagues, guests,


My name is MB, and I serve as President of PCCEA, the faculty association. I’d like to wish everyone a happy new year and look forward to working with you all to make this a brighter year for Pima as we celebrate half a century in our community. A warm welcome and congratulations to our new Board members García and Gonzales, and sincere thanks to all of you for your care and service.


As we start the budget development process for next fiscal year, I call on us all to stay focused on our core mission and take a hard look at spending priorities. We have laid off long-time, distinguished faculty members and asked the faculty to freeze their professional development funds to prevent losing even more. We lost invaluable support staff and have not replaced many campus academic and student services administrators. The remaining employees are being asked to do more with less and will have gone without a step increase for 5 years by summer. Crucial areas such as IT and HR appear to be short-changed.


At the same time, we have added several new district administrator positions with various interesting titles, most recently an associate provost without any listing in the Board packet as far as I could find. I hear concerns from some employees about increased pay for certain directors and wasteful spending on travel.


Student reporter Amaris Encinas from the Aztec Press reported last month how in just one instance the College paid $6,374 for a “flexible economy” ticket in case the chancellor needed to reschedule, even though normal tickets cost only about $1000-1500. It’s nice that the chancellor could pitch in a couple of thousand of his own money to upgrade to business class, but seems to me the College could have bought 4-6 more economy tickets for that money if there really was such an urgent need to reschedule. It just doesn’t add up and looks terrible in the face of all the other cuts. Don’t get me wrong, I personally support a number of the College’s international efforts, but this is just plain waste, and it accumulates quickly.


Looking at the October financial statement in your packet, travel expenses increased 5% for July - October last year compared to 2017, and general expenses on administration increased 11%. Meanwhile, instruction - core mission - took a 4% hit. For the fiscal year 2018, travel was up by 15%, administration up by 3%, while instruction by only 1%. I may not be aware of all the context, and I look forward to discussing the budget and priorities more with the chancellor and Dr. Bea, but I see a worrisome trend of pushing work down and money up.


Let’s be responsible stewards of the public dollars and invest them where they will return the most benefit for our students. Thank you for your time, consideration, and oversight.



PCCEA Endorsements

posted Oct 20, 2018, 4:40 PM by Ana Jiménez   [ updated Oct 20, 2018, 4:53 PM ]


 
The PCCEA Executive Board endorses Debi Chess Mabie for the Pima Community College Governing Board in District 5. Based on her responses at the candidate forum and written responses to PCCEA's questions, many of us expressed confidence in her ability to make thoughtful, informed decisions that will help our college be the best it can be for our students and the whole community. Her background suggests she is well-equipped for the position, and we trust that she would be a constructive, independent voice on the Board, willing to listen to all stakeholders on important matters. 

We do not oppose the candidacy of Luis Gonzales and would be eager to work with him, as well. Unfortunately, Mr. Gonzales has not provided sufficient information to warrant a PCCEA endorsement.

 
The PCCEA Executive Board endorses both candidates for Pima Community College Governing Board in District 3, Maria Garcia and Vikki Marshall. We are confident that both would make valuable contributions and keep the interests of students, faculty, and Tucson community in mind. They have both been very forthcoming, and we look forward to keeping an open line of communication with them.

PCCEA sincerely appreciates the commitment to service that all four candidates have demonstrated.

October PCCEA Update to Faculty

posted Oct 7, 2018, 6:35 PM by Ana Jiménez

From: Boguszak, Matej <mboguszak@pima.edu>
Date: Fri, Oct 5, 2018 at 5:21 PM
Subject: PCCEA Update
To: PCCFACULTY <pccfaculty@pima.edu>


Dear colleagues,

I wanted to share a few updates on select topics that PCCEA discussed with administration in recently.

Faculty Reduction-in-Force (RIF)

It turns my stomach to type this, but October is the month when executive college leadership will most likely make the decision to reduce at least some non-vacant instructional faculty positions, meaning that some of our colleagues' contracts will not be renewed. Declining enrollment was not brought about by the faculty and should have been addressed with more urgency. Now we, as all employees, are faced with the dim consequences. PCCEA met with David Bea, Executive VC of Finance, last Friday to discuss the budget reduction alternatives, both in the general fund and within instructional funds specifically. The Finance office provided additional data on supervision lines and funding levels and will be making available a list of institutions bench-marked to arrive at the 50:1 FTSE:Full-time faculty ratio target used to justify the reductions.

Meanwhile, the Deans have been meeting to discuss enrollment data, program viability, and other unique factors within their disciplines to inform the Faculty Allocation Criteria developed previously (you may remember the August survey). They will present their recommendations to the Provost and Presidents this Monday, October 8, who will then make decisions for both need-based hiring and reductions over the coming week or so. Any faculty affected by this RIF will be confidentially notified before the end of October, so that they may still have time to apply for jobs in the academic hiring cycle for 2019/20. HR will conduct training on how to appropriately notify affected employees, and compensation package options for them are under consideration. PCCEA stands ready to help any affected faculty in working through their difficult situation and analyzing any data used to justify their selection; please don't hesitate to reach out to us!

We are meeting with the Provost and Presidents this Wednesday, October 10, to ensure the entire process is transparent, any decision to cut faculty positions is in fact based on instructional need, all other viable alternatives to reduce expenditures have been exhausted, and policy is being followed. In our previous meeting with the Chancellor and administrative leadership on September 18, PCCEA emphasized that enrollment must be our first priority, so it would be detrimental to cut faculty positions that are needed to support course and relevant program offerings.

Finally, note that Educational Support Faculty (counselors and librarians) already lost a large number of positions through attrition and are not being considered for non-vacant position reductions this year. Of the roughly 23 instructional faculty positions targeted for reduction, some will certainly be vacant or soon-to-be-vacated through retirements, and I am still hopeful that we can further lower the number a bit by identifying alternative expenditure reductions. Certainly wish I had better news, though.

Mandatory Training

In part to limit the College's exposure to liability and help the Chancellor accomplish his goals, HR has asked employees to complete a long list of mandatory training modules. PCCEA has repeatedly pointed out multiple issues with the request and was able to get some clarification from Jeffrey Lanuez, Executive Director of HR.
HR is working on a clarifying message, to be sent to all employees any day now reportedly, in order to extend the timeline, prioritize the different types of training, offer additional options and flexibility to adjunct faculty, and provide an estimate of how long each component is expected to take. They have come up with a workaround for finding out who has taken which training already, but a permanent solution is being researched with IT and the software vendor. Employees will not be expected to retake training they have already completed.

Employee Policy Rewrite

Traaen and Associates, the HR consultant retained to help rewrite our employee policy statements (including the FPPS), returned a first draft to the administration over the summer, but it was said to be more of a cut-and-paste job than a rewrite. Administration felt that in-house expertise was needed to rewrite many policy sections returned. Different administrative offices have been tasked with further editing these policies under the guidance of Traaen.

PCCEA expressed concern that Administration rather than Traaen is now rewriting the policy and asked that employee representative groups be involved early and often on anything substantial. We also noted that this project should not take precedence over other critical work the College is undertaking. It was agreed that although step-by-step procedures may not be something included in the final employee policy book, those procedures absolutely needed to be housed somewhere that would be easily referenced as people use these procedures on a regular basis.

    The AERC and employee representative groups are to receive the first sections of policy for review later this month in order to help shape the first public draft. There is hope that all employees will have some input into the proposed changes by the end of the semester.

      Proposed Future Required Use of D2L

        During our last meeting with the Chancellor and administrative leadership, PCCEA requested that additional discussions be held before requiring all faculty to use the D2L gradebook and inquired about the College's goals in this regard. The Provost may pull together a group of faculty to identify the best way to accomplish these goals, which include being able to have all students have access to grades online, data collection through eLumen, and separation of CLO performance by student for data reporting purposes. We emphasized the importance of faculty being given maximum reasonable flexibility in accomplishing these goals and not necessarily requiring them to use a tool that is far from ideal for everyone.

        All Faculty Meeting

        PCCEA will host an open All Faculty Meeting two weeks from now on Friday, October 19, 10 - 12, at the Downtown Campus Amethyst room to provide further updates and answer any of your concerns and questions. It is likely that the Provost will also host a faculty forum that afternoon from 1:30 - 3 in order to discuss additional information related to the RIF; her office will send a message.


        These are sad and difficult times for our beloved Pima. Thank you for all you do to make it the life-changing College that it is for our students. I hope we can keep a level head, stay focused on what matters most, and get through this together. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

        All the best,

        Matej
        PCCEA President

        --
        Matej Boguszak
        Mathematics Faculty
        Pima Community College

        Passing of Lifetime Educator, Georgia Brousseau

        posted Aug 14, 2018, 9:26 AM by Ana Jiménez

        Anyone with a long history at Pima Community College knows Georgia Brousseau. Former PCC Board Member and strong advocate of employees and Meet and Confer, Georgia was instrumental in many things we take for granted at the College: from the implementation of syllabi to the formation of the East Campus. We were shocked and saddened to hear that Ms. Brousseau passed after a valiant battle with cancer on July 31, 2018. A Celebration of Life for Georgia Cole Brousseau will be held  on the 29 of Sept 2018 at Pima College East Campus in the Community Room at 10 am. We hope all who knew her or were touched by her leadership will join as we commemorate her life of service and stand with her family.

        God speed, Ms. Brousseau. 
        You are missed.

        ~Ana Jiménez
        PCCEA President

        Senate Reports and PCCEAExec Briefs Now Available

        posted May 24, 2018, 9:54 AM by Ana Jiménez

        An archive of the monthly Senate Reports and regular PCCEAExecutive Briefs are now available under the Reports, Briefs, Tips page. These have been added to the original "Tip of the Month" emails PCCEA sent back in 2011. 
        New files will be added to the archive regularly. Check them out!

        PCCEA Statement of Support: Arizona Public Education

        posted Apr 24, 2018, 1:55 PM by Ana Jiménez

        23 April 2018

        For the first time in history, the teachers across the state of Arizona plan a walk-out. No one wants to walk-out, and no one walks-out without cause. In this instance, it comes after almost two decades of decimating funding for public education which has led to a mass shortage of teachers across Arizona. The walk-out comes only after a proposal by Governor Ducey failed to address overall shortfalls of funding, promising to increase teacher salaries, but at the expense of financing the tools needed to help students succeed.
        Arizona public school teachers—the women and men who spend every day with our children—want to have their voice and experience respected and valued. They want to be treated as equal partners in making sure every student in Arizona succeeds. The students, teachers and educational support staff—and the state of Arizona—deserve a school system that provides enough resource for all students to succeed. In the end, that is what this walk-out is all about.
        Pima Community College Education Association (PCCEA) stands firmly with the K-12 teachers of Arizona, and we will support them in their efforts to secure adequate funding that will enable them to give their students the best opportunities.

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