March 22, 2012

USM hands out big raises amid cuts

The university defends the salary increases as necessary to retain qualified administrators.

By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

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"I grew up in Maine and I know what it means to make what I do in Maine anytime, let alone during these times," Caswell said. "I also know that I'm good at what I do and other people were getting paid a lot more than me. Selma initiated this. I did not request it. All that said, do I at times question the timing of this? Sure. But I understand why it was done and I appreciate it greatly."

Laura Foye, chairwoman of USM's Board of Visitors, defended the position-review program, echoing Botman's view that an "equity adjustment" is different from a merit or cost-of-living raise.

As vice president of commercial lending at TD Bank, Foye said her company does similar market studies and must adjust salaries to attract and keep competent employees.

Foye said she also believes the economy is improving and many Maine companies are raising salaries.

"I agree it sounds like a lot," Foye said, referring to the USM salary increases. "But when you have a critical position and you have an employee who's not easy to replace, you want to make sure your compensation program is where the industry is."

John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based job placement firm, questioned the UMaine system's effort to link salaries to a national or market average.

Companies and institutions vary greatly in size, location, industry, workplace culture and job requirements, he said.

"I think it's a false process because there is no regularity," Challenger said. "Salaries are all over the map, so there's no real center of what people should be paid."

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

kbouchard@pressherald.com

CORRECTION: This story was updated on Thursday, March 22 to reflect that certain University of Southern Maine employees received salary increases of 3 percent to 41 percent this budget year. Incorrect information was provided to the newspaper.

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USM salaries

Do you think that USM’s salary review program is a good idea?

Yes

No

View Results