Board of Regents enacts changes to UW System employment policies (Sep 9, 2005)

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September 9, 2005                                                                       

Contact: Doug Bradley
(608) 262-5061

Board of Regents enacts changes to UW System employment policies

WEST BEND-The Board of Regents voted unanimously Friday to make changes that improve employment policies and practices of the University of Wisconsin System, and upheld a freeze on granting new concurrent positions to individuals who accept administrative limited appointments.

"These changes are the beginning of a process to reform employment policies within the state's public university system," said Regent President David G. Walsh. "We must be satisfied that our personnel practices are in line with the principles of this university, and of Wisconsin's citizens."

Walsh, with UW System President Kevin P. Reilly, froze the granting of concurrent appointments in August, pending the Board's review of a larger set of employment policies and practices, including terms of employment, use of accrued leave, compensation and competitiveness. The full Board will again vote before the freeze is lifted.

According to Regent Charles Pruitt, who chairs the Business and Finance Committee, the Board's actions are intended to ensure the principle that employees will be paid at rates that are commensurate for current duties, not those of any prior position.

Board members noted the deep concern they share with state citizens about felony crimes committed by UW employees, and pledged to work with the Legislature to make sure university rules and related state statutes allow for appropriate disciplinary actions. The Board voted to require that UW institutions immediately commence internal investigations and follow appropriate disciplinary procedures when UW employees are accused of misconduct.

Following Board action, the UW System will consult with faculty and staff governance groups to review position titles designated as limited appointments, and consider implementing a fixed-term contract system in lieu of limited-term appointments.

The Board also upheld Reilly's recent action to require the president's approval for any settlements involving the termination of a limited appointee, and required that such settlements also be reported to the Board. The actions now require administrators who assume faculty positions to be compensated at a rate consistent only with their faculty duties, and the Board directed that any such employees granted leave to transition to teaching must provide a work proposal and subsequent report, and will receive no more than one semester to do so. Administrators who had served for more than five years would be eligible for two semesters of leave.

The Board's actions also require the UW System to develop a revised sick leave policy; to present for review by the full Board compensation offered to the president and chancellors; and to prepare a recommendation on the sufficiency of the UW's internal audit functions.

The UW System will be required to report to the Board on these actions by November 2005.

"This Board recognizes the hard work and diligence of the majority of UW System employees," Pruitt said. "Working with the president, this Board will ensure that every UW employee properly performs the work they are expected to do in service to students and the state."