John G. Peters
NIU’s Board of Trustees last Thursday approved a plan to increase salaries for NIU employees by an average of 4.5 percent this fiscal year.
“Maintaining competitive salaries for all faculty and staff is my No. 1 budget priority,” NIU President John Peters said. “The package approved by the board today reflects our best efforts at living up to that commitment.”
University officials called the FY08 salary plan “extremely competitive” compared with similar plans across the state.
“This plan will be a stretch for us, but it is entirely merited,” Peters said. “It is a reflection of the high regard in which this administration and its governing board holds the faculty and staff of Northern Illinois University.”
University trustees expressed unanimous support for the plan.
“I have never seen an administration more concerned with directing available funds to the salaries of faculty and staff,” board Chair Cherilyn Murer said. “These individuals are the heart and soul of our university, and we board members strongly support the high priority placed on competitive compensation.”
Trustee Manny Sanchez echoed Murer’s remarks, reminding fellow trustees that a 4.5 percent salary hike is more than twice the percent of NIU’s state budget increase for the current fiscal year.
“The simple thing would have been to say, ‘We got an increase in state funding of 1.8 percent, so we will just grant 1.8 percent raises across the board,’ but that is not the way we operate,” Sanchez said. “Instead we try to support our employees to the maximum that we can, and I am proud of those efforts.”
Trustee Bob Boey also commended the board for its work at maintaining competitive salaries in a climate of decreasing state support.
“When this board was created in 1996, the state provided nearly 50 percent of our funding. Today that number has dropped to nearly 25 percent. In light of that, I believe this plan demonstrates that this board will do all within its power to maintain our commitment to our employees.”
The increases will be retroactive to the July 1 start of the current fiscal year. Tentative plans call for employees to see the increase, along with retroactive pay reflecting that increase, in paychecks issued in mid-November.