NJIT Faculty and Staff
Robert A. Altenkirch
Saturday, April 4, 2009
FY10 Budget Considerations
As you know from my March 16, 2009 message, there are a number of significant budgetary issues the State has yet to resolve for FY10 that may affect NJIT employees. The Governor’s Budget Address and the FY 2010 Budget in Brief propose significant reductions in salary appropriations affecting all State employees going forward, including, specifically, public higher education employees. These proposals will now be considered by and debated in the Legislature before the State budget for FY10 is decided. As we learn more specific information between now and before the FY10 budget is established for July 1, we anticipate holding one or more campus-wide meetings to inform the community as to potential impacts of the State budget on NJIT and NJIT employees.

Our bargaining unit contracts are settled, except for the Professional Staff Association (PSA). Last October, I provided an update to the university community with respect to the status of negotiations with the PSA. While we remain committed to providing parity with the State compensation package totals for PSA employees, because the State compensation package for next year is unknown at this time, we are unable to continue to commit to the previously offered PSA compensation package until we receive further clarification from the State as to our funding and/or any State mandates affecting our employees.

Our intent has always been to recognize the noteworthy contributions of our faculty, university lecturers, and professional staff. We have recently provided the PSA negotiating team with a new performance pay proposal for faculty that individualizes the performance evaluation process, utilizing performance metrics mutually agreed to by each faculty member and their Chair. The proposal eliminates the current step system, replacing it with a continuous distribution of increases, and eliminates caps on salary progression. The university’s intent was, and is, to distribute all of any salary program funds.

Up to the present time, and as more fully explained in the October message to the university community, the administration’s proposal included, from the onset of negotiations with the PSA, a four-year package of a 20% increase in compensation, which is the same level of increase included in the State contracts for the same time period.  As I explained in my October message, for the faculty only the administration has proposed a salary program that transitions over the four years of the contract to one in which all funds allocated are distributed in their entirety based on performance. Such a system ensures accountability to the public that their dollars are used wisely to reward those who are meeting performance goals rather than automatically escalating salaries well placed among those at public universities in New Jersey and across the country. The professional administrators were offered the equivalent across-the-board and merit distributions as that offered in Statewide negotiations, and university lecturers were also offered a 20% four-year package maintaining across-the-board increases for all years, but allocating a greater percentage to the merit pool in the last two years of the contract. 

In the coming weeks and months, we will monitor budgetary developments at the State level, continue to work diligently to develop agreement on the salary distribution process for faculty, and seek to develop a comprehensive economic proposal as soon as we are able to receive clarification on our economic situation.

 I remain committed to budgetary approaches that benefit the university we all serve, the well-being of our employees and students, and serving as a good steward of public funds and tuition dollars.