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BTC board OKs 2% raise

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
May 17, 2012
— Administrative staff members at Blackhawk Technical College will get a 2 percent raise in the coming school year, but that doesn't make up for pay they lost due to the actions of state lawmakers, the college president said.

The Blackhawk Tech Board voted 6-0 for the raises after considering them in closed session Wednesday.


There was no discussion in open session.


Board members Heidi Carvin, Victor Gonzalez and Lauri Steeber were absent.


BTC President Tom Eckert said after the meeting that these employees took a 5.8 percent pay cut in the past two years because they were among the public-sector workers who had to start paying their portion of their pension plan payments, as required by Wisconsin Act 10.


A 2 percent increase this year and again next year does not make up for what they lost from their paychecks, Eckert said, "so it really isn't as far out of line as some might think."


"We also try to reward our folks for their hard work," Eckert said.


Eckert pointed to the recent evaluation by a college accrediting agency that gave BTC stellar marks but said leaders should be concerned about "employee burnout."


"We're (spread) thin. We're working people very hard. We're trying to reward people for their hard work," Eckert said.


All 66 employees received the 2 percent increase, while seven received additional increases because of increased job duties. The seven, all lower-level members of the administrative staff, received raises ranging from 5 percent to 7.37 percent.


The cost of all the increases in the coming year is $95,661.


The board also approved 2 percent raises for non-teaching part-time workers, who are not represented by a union.


The cost to increase the pay of the 181 part-timers is $15,851.


Faculty members, who also saw the paycheck reductions for their pensions, also will see 2 percent raises in the coming year under a contract approved last fall.


The topic of Madison lawmakers' effects on BTC came up at another point in the meeting, when Paul Gabriel, executive director of the Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association, spoke.


Gabriel noted the state's technical colleges saw big cuts in state aid over the past year.


Gabriel said the technical colleges need to make a better case for their worth to their communities so they can compete with the "boatloads of money" that now have the biggest influence over lawmakers.


Gabriel made his comments after asking if there was a member of the news media in the room and apparently toned down his remarks when he was told there was.


"That's the currency right now, it really is," Gabriel said of the money, but tech colleges have one hope: "No legislatoróliberal Democrat or conservative Republicanówill vote against something they think will hurt a crucial asset in their district."


Other business

In other business Wednesday, the Blackhawk Technical College Board:


-- Set the public hearing on the 2012-13 budget for 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, at the central campus Administrative Center. The Gazette reported on the proposed budget previously.


-- Approved the low bidder to remodel space at the Beloit Center into a science lab. Draevnig Construction of Beloit won the contract with the low bid of $89,954. The work will start this month and be completed in time for installation of furnishings so classes can begin in the fall.


-- Awarded a bid to install electronic lecture technologies in all classrooms that don't have them, for $380,628, to Camera Corner of Green Bay. None of the bidders was local. Camera Corner was a high bidder, said Renea Ranguette, vice president for finance, when questioned by board member Tom Westrick. Ranguette said the bids were graded on qualifications and project-management experience, and Camera Corner ranked head and shoulders above the rest. President Tom Eckert said the quality and speed of the work are crucial for this project.


-- Approved $147,375 for furniture under the state purchasing contract.



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