Thursday, December 8, 2011


Recently [well, really a discussion that has been going on for awhile, and will continue to] a lot of discussion over the paychecks to staff [primarily grounds, maintenance, housekeeping, etc.] faculty and administrators.  Just gonna post some of the information/emails and not actually comment on it via it is a difficult situation.

Here is a Point News Article Terrorist newspaper article about the increase to administrative salaries of 15 administrators which Dr. Urgo later pointed out was semi inaccurate via there were increases to staff and faculty salaries as well (see email below).

It is particularly distressing to me to face external limitations on employee eligibility for salary increases. We will continue to work with legislators in Annapolis to broaden eligibility, and ultimately, to see an end to the state wage freeze.

This year, despite the state wage freeze, we have been able to work within state guidelines to make a number of salary increases effective in January 2012.  

Scheduled January 2012 Increases:

Faculty – 58
23 Assistant Professors
22 Associate Professors
13 Professors

Also, in January 2011, 40 tenure-track, assistant professors received increases.

Faculty adjustments listed here do not include salary increases that come as a result of promotions, tenure, and periodic reviews. Over 50 faculty members received this category of salary increase in 2011. Others are eligible for these increases in 2012.

Faculty Librarians – 2

Staff – 18
4 Athletics
4 President’s Cabinet
2 Business Office
2 Campus Technology Support Services
1 Academic Services
1 Advancement
1 Facilities
1 Financial Aid
1 Registrar’s Office
1 Waterfront

The student newspaper has a story this week with partial information about salaries on campus that I and others have found to be misleading, and unfortunate. I intend this email to help us all understand the issues we face regarding salary increases, and the progress we’ve made within state limitations. I am happy to meet with anyone, singly or in groups, to discuss the situation and the decisions we’ve implemented.

Joseph Urgo
St. Mary's College of Maryland

Only comment here that I want to make is that while positions such as athletics, president's cabinet, CTSS, and the various offices, none of these (other than the one facilities pay increase, which I could guess may have gone to Kevin Mercer [bless his soul, beautiful man]) are going towards the staff that the students are concerned about, those working for low(ish) hourly wages. 

So, there are some facts about this, primarily for the alumni readers.  Check out the article's comments, especially the 4chan troll, along with some insightful commentary. 

Oh and there was a reply to the Urgo all student email from above:

I agree with President Urgo’s statement that The Point News article is not totally accurate, but I disagree that it is “misleading” and “unfortunate.”  The salient message of the article is that the most poorly paid employees at SMCM are not getting raises.   In this message, the article is accurate, and tells a story that needs to be told. 

Matthew (25:29) said it millennia ago:

For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.

So, how do we solve this problem within the constraints of the State’s mandate?  We have efforts under way to establish a Joe Carroll Staff Award, with a 1 of 1 match for an unnamed donor.  If you haven’t already contributed to that fund and can afford it, do so.  Your $1 is worth $2. 

But a once-a-year fund will not solve an endemic problem.

The Point News article mentioned support for establishing “a fund to reserve money until it would be legal to disperse among the staff.”  I, and I am sure many others, call on the President and other “operationally critical staff” to explore this and other creative solutions.  Let’s all be part of the solution, not the problem.

Not sure that we needed the religious quote, but it does bring up the issue of 'rich get richer, poor get poorer' along with other good points.  Hope this educated yall to some degree, please leave comments if I missed anything or am wrong about anything or if I am still unfunny etc. thank you



  1. benjes you know it is possible to appreciate part of a message without accepting the entire over-arching ideology. Most of us at smc probably agree with some of the things Marx wrote, but that does not mean we are communists. the matthew quote is pretty timeless and poignant

  2. Most of the staff you seem concerned about not receiving raises/pay increases collectively bargain for their pay, whereas the ones that did receive raises are not part of the same collective bargaining unit. If this wasn't a year to renegotiate that contract (and given the lack of student sit ins and protests on the issue, it probably wasn't) then there was no way for those individuals to increase the rate of their pay.

    To summarize in your style: "The union didn't get a raise this year via they are in the middle of a previously agreed up on contract."

  3. 9:30 Agreed! Not sure what communism has to do with the Matthew quote (I mean Marxist communist obviously is anti-religious, but I don't think modern communism, as a political ideology has to be). And I said that it was a good quote and applicable, but I'm still allowed to feel weirdish about very religious quotes in all student emails. You can get the message without the overarching ideology. Actually this was something I talked to people about a bit and am still conflicted about. Overall I was okay with it, but it did distress some people. I DON'T KNOW LIFE IS HARD. <3 u for commenting though.

    @9:55 It's not really my concern, but rather the concern of the student body that I am seeing via facebook. But you bring up a good point and I appreciate your input greatly. This is something that a legitimate news source should investigate further.

    Thanks again to both of you.

  4. It's 9:55 again. If I were you, and wanted to dig into this a bit further, in the fall of '07 (I believe), there was a very public push for a "living wage" by the union which was backed by a large section of students. The Point News probably has a few pieces on it in their archives if you're interested.

    From a purely journalistic standpoint, it would probably be best to compare the wages and increases in wages at SMCM's union to those of similar positions at other public sector unions in Maryland. Keeping the comparison in-State is somewhat of a necessity given the variances in the regulations concerning collective bargaining agreements state-to-state. That would produce a more apples-to-apples comparison than comparisons with faculty and administrative staff.

  5. I told them I wasn't giving any money to the College until they fix the pay discrepancy, but the joke's on them 'cause I don't have any money anyway! Mwahahahahah

  6. Agreed with 9:55. The current MOU between the College and AFSCME expires October 2012. ( So it would be next year they'll looking for raises, etc. Although there's a state-wide pay freeze until 2014, so I'm not sure how that will work. Is the issue here that the College didn't fight hard enough on behalf of the union? Overall, though, I feel like it's important to note that they're unionized. The housekeepers, grounds staff etc DO have a channel to address their grievances and demand higher wages, benefits etc. I'm not sure everyone realizes this.

    It also seems like a lose-lose situation for the administration. Given the economy and overall status of the state's and the College budgets, I don't think it's realistic/possible for everyone to get raises. So does the College give some employees raises or give no one raises and have employees/professors leave because other places will pay them more?

    I don't really have strong feelings about this either way. Just trying to look at it objectively, I guess.

  7. @Tom Seahawk You're allowed to feel weird about religious quotes just as much as people are allowed to post them. If I'm correct all religions with the exception of scientology advocate peace. I would look at extremists as just that, extremists.

  8. 9:55 Again.
    @Nicole: The pay freeze isn't quite as firm as one would think. It keeps the average MD state employee from getting a step increase, but anyone can still be reclassified to a position that requires a higher grade/step combination. Union employees aren't paid on the grade/step scale to begin with, and their collective bargaining agreements have made them more or less immune to the pay freeze, service reduction days, and floating furlough days that apply to the salaried state employees.

  9. First of all, the union negotiated pay is crap, and the state fights them tooth and nail.

    Second of all, there are a LOT of staff members that are somewhere between the union and the high-paid administration (you could argue the faculty are in this range, too). These people (you might even consider them the "middle class" of the college) are hurting, too. (No one questions though that the lowest-paid employees are certainly suffering the most and need the most help.)

    Third, there have been NO pay raises in 3 years, plus 2 out of those 3 years staff had to take furlough days (i.e., unpaid days off). Granted they gradiated the number of days people had to take, and this year the staff didn't have to take any, but that hardly counts as a pay raise (basically took 2 steps back, and have now taken 2 steps forward, so we're back where we were 3 years ago).

    Fourth, even if you don't believe in the Bible, it's still just a book that's been around for a long, long time. As long as no one's forcing you to believe it, it's no different than quoting Faulkner or the New York Times.

    Fifth, reclassifying positions is a nigh impossible task - the state has very strict rules about it, in order to prevent abuses (such as reclassifying someone to get them a raise when their job hasn't changed and no one's getting raises). There are legitimate times to do it, of course, but it's actually quite difficult to do.

    Honestly the best way to get a pay raise is to move into another, better-paying job on campus in another department (because we all know that if someone else in your department leaves and you have to do their work in addition to your own, you don't get paid more for it - it's just expected, and it sucks, and it happens a lot more often than people realize).

  10. "Not sure what communism has to do with the Matthew quote (I mean Marxist communist obviously is anti-religious, but I don't think modern communism, as a political ideology has to be)."

    Marx was basically a Christian philosopher who didn't believe in God

  11. 9:55 @A Staff Member-

    Now, now, let's not forget that not only are your furlough days gone, but that you also got somewhere between 3 and 5 additional days of paid leave during each of the '11 and '12 fiscal years, in addition to the one time bonus.

    While most unions didn't get these perks, the majority were exempt (by the nature of their work and their agreements with the state) from furlough days all together.

    Yes, State employees do make less than their counterparts in the private sector, but then again, the private sector doesn't contribute nearly as much to retirement, or offer pension plans, or offer nearly as much leave, or anywhere near the level of job security afforded to State employees. And you can pick and choose your health plan from a variety of providers based on your or your family's needs, are afforded discounted tuition to State universities.

    That, combined with the Peter Principle style cultures of seniority and promotion from within, and life as a State employee doesn't seem to look so grim after all.

  12. Anon @7:02 - You do know staff hasn't received a cost of living increase in 3 years, and aren't expected to get any more for at least another 2 years, right? That $750 bonus, after taxes, was a nice gesture, but hardly justifies 5 years without salary increases. Also, not having to take furlough days isn't considered a raise.

    I realize the union had somewhat different effects, but, again, not everyone at the college is part of the union. (I bet some investigative journalism on Ken's part would reveal some interesting figures.)

    No one's denying that there are definite perks for working for the state, but that doesn't mean the state can go around screwing us at will, either.

  13. Lots of great discussion here and insight from staff members. Thanks for the input yall, comments etc. are definitely more insightful than my input etc.

  14. Hey look - staff *might* get a 3% increase in 2013. Whoopee.

  15. Strike that - a whole whopping TWO percent.