CRYSTAL LAKE – The McHenry County College board of trustees approved a 2 percent raise, totaling $62,500 a year, for 38 administrators Thursday night.
But before the 4-3 vote in favor of the raise, board officials debated whether such a raise was feasible and fair given the current economic climate. They also discussed whether the 25 percent of health care insurance premiums that administrators pay ought to increase.
Ultimately, the trustees tabled action on adjustments to insurance premium contributions and voted only on the 2 percent raise for fiscal 2013, which began July 1. Trustees Mary Miller, Carol Larson, Linda Liddell and Cynthia Kisser voted for the raise; Dennis Adams, Barbara Walters and Ronald Parrish voted against it.
Before deferring action on health care contributions, Larson proposed raising the employees’ contribution to 30 percent from 25 percent.
In arguing for the pay raise, MCC Board Chairwoman Mary Miller said administrators, which include various department directors, deans and assistant vice presidents employed before July 2011, need to be “recognized” for their work in recent years.
“I really think we have to give them some sort of a raise,” Miller said. “I think this institution is running really well.”
Adams and Parrish simply disagreed.
“To push the [financial] burden onto the taxpayers, homeowners ... is just unconscionable to me,” Adams said. “ ... I apologize, I wish I could speak differently, but frankly I can’t.”
Parrish said comparisons in compensation with other area community colleges – some more than twice the size of MCC – does not justify an “across-the-board, flat increase.”
“It’s not all cut from the same cloth,” he said.
“Our fees and costs are tremendously different,” Walter added in agreement. “It’s not apples to apples. It’s apples to oranges.”
Earlier this month, a study by a Florida-based consulting company found that MCC’s administrators and professional and classified employees were paid a base salary that was nearly 12 percent less than peers at the low end of the survey results. At the midpoint, MCC employees were about 5.4 percent behind their peers, and at the high end, that fell to less than 3 percent, the firm said.
Base salary comparisons to the private sector were more dramatic.
But when benefits were factored in, MCC employees, on average, took home 1.3 percent more in total compensation than their public sector peers.
The Compensation and Classification Study by Evergreen Solutions outlined a four-step plan to make MCC ’s pay fairer and more competitive. Putting the plan in place would require $256,263 a year in total raises for some of the college’s nearly 300 nonteaching employees.
The board’s next regular board meeting is scheduled for Aug. 23. Then trustees are expected to again take up the matter of administrators’ health insurance premiums.