The Ottumwa Courier

July 9, 2013

May we pay you more?

By MARK NEWMAN Courier staff writer
Ottumwa Courier

---- — OTTUMWA — College employees willingly took smaller raises when money was tight. Why not, said board members, give them a boost if revenue is adequate?

Monday, the Indian Hills Community College board of trustees reviewed a human resources request for a total package increase of 3.5 percent. Annually, the head of human resources and the school’s CFO meet with an employee committee to show them what “new money” will be forthcoming to the college that year. The group determines how much of an increase for workers would be fair.

College President Jim Lindenmayer said they’re the only community college in Iowa that lays their cards on the table in that way.

Chairman John Pothoven pointed out when revenue is down, therefore, the worker group has accepted a smaller increase compared to other colleges. So, he asked, when the opposite is true, shouldn’t the school step up, squeeze the purse a bit and recognize how important those employees are?

In the past 10 years, he said, teachers and support staff at the school have only received increases equal to the state average raise twice. Though not all the numbers are in, so far this year, the state average for community colleges is a 3.76 percent increase.

With a big chunk of the 3.5 percent total package increase going toward insurance premiums, employees might appreciate a bit more. Board member Rich Gaumer asked if the college could afford to match the expense of moving increases to that state average, though he also noted the college isn’t out to make a profit.

CFO Sue Pixley said the school could afford it only if the projected number of students attend: There would have to be 120,000 credit hours, which is the same amount as this year.

After some discussion among members and administrators, Gaumer amended his motion to state that right now, the board approves the requested 3.5 percent. If, in the fall, enrollment is at the same level as this year, then employee compensation will go up to 3.76 percent.

The vote passed unanimously.