600 UI staff members appeal reclassification

BY HAYLEY BRUCE | MARCH 23, 2011 7:20 AM

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About 600 University of Iowa staff members have officially appealed a preliminary plan to update their titles and job descriptions, officials said.

The Compensationa and Classificaiton Redesign Project — originally created in 2008 to help UI officials recruit and retain employees more effectively in 2008 — will affect roughly 5,200 non-uion professional and scientific staff members.

UI Assistant Vice President for Human Services Kevin Ward said 4,000 of those affected are eligible to appeal because of their completion of job-information forms.

Staff members received word of their preliminary assignments Feb. 28; they had until midnight Tuesday to appeal, Ward said.

Staff Council President Amber Seaton said she expected around 10 percent of staff to appeal and was not surprised by the number.

"I think it's just new, it's a different system, there's different names and things so trying to figure out what level people are was a bit of a concern," she said.

While said her department was happy with the changes, she said, staff concerns included issues about how raises would be determined and how new titles would rank staff.

Despite the 600 appeals, Ward said he views the feedback as a positive.

"I think it still says the vast majority of people were comfortable with their placements," Ward said.

"We're interested in the feedback we get through the appeal process and it will give us an opportunity to go back and check some of those placement decisions that will help us make this a good system."

Karen Shemanski, the head of the project, previously told The Daily Iowan the project would make individual responsibilities and salary more flexible.

"Now, the framework is not so rigid," she said.

Ward said the changes will not result in pay decreases or automatic increases but will influence future salaries based on performance and the relationship of each position to the market for jobs of their type.

Regardless, officials agreed the appeals have provided the staff an opportunity to voice their concerns so the program can be improved.

"I think the team did a really good job and I've heard a lot of positive comments from people that they actually now have a job description that actually describes what they do," Seaton said.

The new job classification structure is expected to be in place sometime during July, while the pay structure will be implemented during October, Ward said.

The current system has been in place for more than 30 years.

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