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Open Letter to Administration 2019.04.25

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

from:Boguszak, Matej <>
to:Lee Lambert <>,
Dolores Duran-Cerda <>,
Jeffrey Lanuez <>
cc:"Schmidt, Kate" <>,
"Silvyn, Jeffrey" <>,
"Bea, David" <>,
"Goldstein, Sasha" <>,
Tom Davis <>,
Ted Roush <>,
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,


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