April 4, 2012

UMaine System employee raises total $7 million

The increases went to 809 people over seven years while many others went without.

By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The University of Maine System handed out a total of $7 million in individual salary increases in the past seven years, during a period of budget cuts when most workers went without regular raises, according to systemwide data released Monday.

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UMaine System's explanation of individual raises


LYNN KUZMA: Dean, USM, 2011, $64,545 to $130,000, $65,455 (101%), new appointment

AMY CATES: Research assistant, UMaine, 2006, $19,434 to $31,586, up $12,152 (63%), adjustment

JOSEPH SZAKAS: Interim dean, UMA, 2011, $71,649 to $115,000, up $43,351 (61%), promotion

STUART MARRS: Associate provost, UMaine, 2009, $75,641 to $120,996, up $45,355 (60%), new appointment

SYLVIA CYPHER: Student services director, UMF, 2010, $32,704 to $52,000, up $19,296 (59%), new appointment

SUSAN HUNTER: Associate provost, UMaine, 2006, $70,960 to $110,000, up $39,040 (55%), new appointment

JEFFREY HUNT: Recreation director, UMaine, 2007, $41,944 to $65,040, up $23,096 (55%), new appointment

LAURIE GARDNER: Finance director, UMF, 2012, $69,015 to  $105,000, up $35,985 (52%), new appointment

GILLIAN JORDAN: Dean, UMA, 2006, $47,646 to $69,500, up $21,854 (46%), promotion

WILLIAM BIBERSTEIN: Associate director, UMaine, 2006, $41,183 to $60,000, up $18,817 (46%), promotion

TIMOTHY PELLETT: Tech coordinator, UMaine, 2006, $23,046 to $33,000, up $9,954 (43%), reclassification

SUSAN HUNTER: Vice president, UMaine, 2008, $121,818 to $174,000, up $52,182 (43%), new appointment

DANIEL SANDWEISS: Dean, UMaine, 2006, $62,792 to $107,500, up $44,708 (42%), new appointment

KYLIE COLE: Clinical staff member, UMaine, 2007, $22,100 to $38,000, up $15,900 (42%), adjustment

SARAH HARDY: Research director, UMF, 2011, $53,458 to $75,000, up $21,542 (40%), new appointment



TOTAL INDIVIDUAL salary increases for fiscal years 2006-12 by institution, number of employees and salary increase.

University of Maine: 2,508, $2.74 million

University of Southern Maine: 1,619, $2.35 million

University of Maine at Augusta: 551, $424,161

University of Maine at Farmington: 416, $375,569

University of Maine at Presque Isle: 208, $147,291

University of Maine at Fort Kent: 155, $140,787

University of Maine at Machias: 139, $66,290

System administration: 160, $757,041

System totals: 5,756, $7 million

CORRECTION: The list at top was changed April 3 to reflect that Lynn Kuzma received a 101 percent salary increase when she was appointed a dean in fiscal 2011. Incorrect data was provided to the newspaper.

System Chancellor James Page, who started his job last month, halted additional discretionary raises and is reviewing compensation policies in the wake of a March 22 Portland Press Herald report that uncovered the impact of individual increases at the University of Southern Maine.

"Legitimate questions have been raised," Page said Monday. "This is a complex issue. It needs to be handled with great consideration."

Most of the university system raises, ranging from 5 percent to 63 percent, rewarded additional duties and promotions or provided pay equity under the Salaried Employee Compensation and Classification Program that was started in 2005.

System officials included top management positions, with raises as high as 101 percent, in the totals provided Monday to give a more complete picture of individual salary increases granted from fiscal 2006 through fiscal 2012.

USM gave a total of $2.34 million in individual raises from fiscal 2006 through fiscal 2012. During the same period, the University of Maine at Orono gave $2.74 million; University of Maine at Augusta, $424,161; University of Maine at Farmington, $375,569; University of Maine at Presque Isle, $147,291; University of Maine at Fort Kent, $140,787; University of Maine at Machias, $66,290; and system administration, $757,041.

Over seven years, since the compensation and classification program started, the system gave a total of 1,022 individual raises to 809 people. Some people received several raises during that period. The system has 5,756 full- and part-time employees.

One USM employee, Student Life Director Jason Saucier, got five raises in seven years. Reasons are listed as three job reclassifications, one new appointment and one adjustment. His salary increased from $24,815, when he was a resident director, to its current level of $58,000.

With Monday's data release, some are questioning the fairness of a compensation program that has awarded raises to certain people while many other university employees have taken on additional duties in the wake of budget cuts and gone without raises for years.

"If the program is about making sure people are paid fair, competitive wages, that should apply to all employees," said Ed Collom, president of the USM faculty union. "It can't be for a selective group. This program needs to be tracked carefully to make sure it's not abused."

Collom noted that the reasons listed for individual increases vary widely and are sometimes obscure. While increases based on promotions and job reclassifications are apparent, 12 people received raises for "job progression." Twenty-seven got "equity increases." For about 80 people, the reason listed is "adjustment."

"It's hard to tell the real reason many of these raises were given," Collom said.

The system gave $827,395 in individual raises during the current fiscal year, which started July 1, with the following totals at each campus: USM, $275,893; UMaine, $262,073; UMA, $69,930; UMF, $56,124; UMFK, $27,020; UMM, 9,500; UMPI, $27,931; and system administration, $98,925.

The largest total increases came in fiscal 2006, 2007 and 2011, when the system granted individual raises that added up to $1.2 million, $1.3 million and $1 million, respectively.

The Salaried Employees Compensation and Classification Program targeted about 1,800 union and nonunion workers across the system, excluding faculty, deans, vice presidents and directors of major divisions. Faculty are eligible for merit raises through a post-tenure review program.

The program continued to allow individual raises even though the system's employees have been working without contracts since July and haven't had cost-of-living increases in three years. Systemwide enrollment has dropped 9 percent since 2002, from 34,089 students to 31,108 students. USM has taken the biggest hit, seeing its enrollment decline from 11,382 to 9,301 in the same period.

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