e-Disclose and Sticky Little Things
While we're looking at Business Systems, a word about e-Disclose. You may have noticed some nags from the USF Office of Audit and Compliance about reporting "outside activity" and possible "conflicts of interest" in the e-Disclose system, a Business System accessible via myUSF. Here is what it's about. Florida State Statute Chapter 112, Part III requires that "... public officials be independent and impartial and that public office not be used for private gain other than the remuneration provided by law. The public interest, therefore, requires that the law protect against any conflict of interest ...."
This law applies to public officers and employees, which means us. And it is not just the academic journals that are getting huffy over conflicts of interest.
The e-Disclose form recently changed - thanks to union nagging. Previously, there were questions like "Do you have an employment or contractual relationship with a business entity that is doing business with the USF System?" The answer was Yes or No. But suppose that you have season tickets to football games at Raymond James Stadium, which has a business relationship with USF. Since "No" was not the technically correct answer even though it was the sensible answer, UFF persuaded the Administration to change the answers to "Yes" versus "Not Applicable".
A sticky little thing, but the law is made up of many sticky little things, sticky little things that can get people in trouble, and watching out for sticky little things is part of what UFF does.
How Raises are Computed
Last year, the UFF and the USF Administration signed a contract that included raises for last year, this year, and next year. Most of the raise money goes to merit raises, which means that they depend entirely on the results of the evaluations. (Some money went towards discretionary raises, which can be distributed by using any system that does not violate civil rights laws, but that goes to only a few people.) Here is how it works.
Last year, the contract called for a 3 % average raise. What that means is that because the total salary for all employees in the Bargaining Unit was just over $ 143 million, employees got raises adding up to 3 % of $ 143 million, or $ 4.3 million. That did not mean that each employee got a 3 % raise; the Board of Trustees rejected that proposal. Instead, each employee's raise depends on that employee's annual evaluation, as follows.
Suppose an employee works in Department X, and that the total payroll for Department X was $ 1 million. Then 3 % of $ 1 million, or $ 30,000 in raises, was distributed to the employees in Department X. But first, only employees who were satisfactory or better got raises. Each employee who was at least satisfactory got a number between 3 and 5 for their annual evaluation: the numbers of all the employees in Department X are added up. Suppose that that total was 60. Then each employee's share of the $ 30,000 is their share of evaluation points. For example, if Dr. Smith got a 4 for his annual evaluation, he got 4/60 of the evaluation points, and 4/60th of $ 30,000 is $ 2,000, so Dr. Smith got a $ 2,000 raise. On the other hand, if Dr. Jones got a 5 for her evaluation, 5/60 of $ 30,000 is $ 2,500, so Dr. Jones got a $ 2,500 raise.
Notice that the raise does not depend on title, current salary, or anything besides the evaluation. So if Dr. Smith was a full professor earning $ 100,000 a year, a $ 2,000 raise is a 2 % raise. But if Dr. Jones was an instructor earning $ 50,000 a year, a $ 2,500 raise is a 5 % raise. Raise amounts depend on merit alone.
The nondiscretionary raises for this year and next year will be computed the same way, only for 2 % of the payroll this year and 2 % next year rather than 3 % of the payroll. After that, we will be bargaining a new contract, and any UFF member with ideas about how raises should be computed is invited to contact our chief negotiator. The next contract will require a lot of work, and the Bargaining Team would appreciate volunteers.