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888 appeal their job descriptions

BY MADISON BENNETT | MAY 12, 2011 7:20 AM

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The number of appeals made in response to the University of Iowa plan to update staff titles and job descriptions has increased by more than 200 in the course of a month — bringing the grand total to 888 appeals.

During a Staff Council meeting on Tuesday, members discussed the implications of the Compensation and Classification Redesign Project. Officials announced staff members' preliminary assignments Feb. 28, and it has since received a lot of negative feedback.

Thus far, the five-member appeals committee has reviewed more than 75 percent of the appeals with the goal of completing all of them by early June, said Karen Shemankski, the head of the Compensation and Classification Redesign Project.

The project was created in 2008 as an effort to more effectively bring in and retain employees. It aims to use performance and the job market to influence future salaries, though salaries will not automatically increase or decrease because of the changes, said Kevin Ward, a UI assistant vice president for Human Services. The current system has not changed for more than 30 years.

The plan will affect roughly 5,200 nonunion professional and scientific staff members, and around 4,200 staff employees had the opportunity to file an appeal as a way to voice concerns about the redesign and ultimately help improve it.

The committee has met to discuss individual appeals and make decisions on final placement.
The appeal breakdown consisted of 607 appeals requesting higher classification, 228 for different function and/or family, 1 for a lower classification, and 52 for the same classification. In the latter case, appeals were made to provide the redesign committee feedback about the overall project, not for a change in classification.

"It certainly has identified areas where we need greater communication," Ward said. "There's been this belief that 'In order to get ahead, I need to reclassify.' "

But committee members were hesitant to announce results of the appeals process and said it was too early to provide specifics on how they handled the appeals.

"You might learn something along the way that makes you rethink some decision you made early on," said Susan Buckley, the UI vice president for Human Resources. "So it is premature."


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