Contract Fair, Says Donner
By Ann K. Williams
December 2 -- A day after Santa Monica College teachers publicized their rejection of the District’s latest proposed contract, the college administration has gone on record to present its side of the story.
“There’s a disconnect,” Interim President Tom Donner told The Lookout Thursday, referring to conflicting interpretations of employee raises by both parties to the current negotiations.
Donner said he has been getting emails saying “we want the same as the classified employees and the managers are getting.”
“That’s what’s been offered,” he said as he explained the history of raises during the past four fiscal years.
Faculty did indeed get their last raise of 2 percent in 2002, Donner said.
But before classified staff and managers could be given a similar raise, which they would normally have gotten in January, the Governor cut the community college budget by 3 percent.
No one got a raise in the budget crunch of 2003-2004.
So in 2004-2005, classified staff and management asked for a “catch-up” for what faculty got in 2002-2003.
Faculty Association figures refer to this as a retroactive raise of 2 percent in January, 2005.
Donner equated the 3.5 percent raises both parties will receive in 2005-2006.
The Faculty Association says administrators will get this 3.5 percent raise in January, 2006 and faculty will get the same percent in mid-February, 2006.
Referring to the $8.2 million the State has given the College in equalization funds, Donner said this is an “additive” number, meaning that it represents multiple payments by the State.
These monies were “recovery money that we were counting on” after the lean 2003-2004 budget, Donner said. The funds were used to rehire part-time and full-time employees, including faculty, and to maintain an adequate reserve and balance the budget in following years.
Donner indicated that faculty and college officials need to find a way to see eye to eye on these figures and what they represent.
“That disconnect has to be resolved for negotiations to go on,” he said.
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