The Yuba College Faculty Association (YCFA) is voicing opposition to this fiscal year’s administrative salary increases, amidst growing concern over a potential district-wide budget deficit.
Although Yuba’s current budget situation is sketchy at this time, a recent freeze in replacement hiring, the establishment of a purchasing deadline of March 1, and calls for staff to make budget reductions have projected its severity.
Mike Dencavage, Vice President of Business Services, admitted the budget situation is “a very significant concern at this point.” According to Dencavage, “we must get our income and expenditures back to a balanced state,” noting that failure to do so could leave the budget “out of balance” by nearly $3.5 million. “We will continue to examine the scope of the problem,” said Dencavage, while citing health benefits and increases in utility costs as some contributors to the situation.
“The [administrative] salary increases don’t alone account for the budget deficit,” said David Rubiales, former YCFA President. “The greatest impact is on the morale of the faculty.”
Instead, Rubiales attributes much of the budget crises to “poor decisions regarding the Clear Lake Campus,” where a recent decline in student enrollment has occurred. He also points to the fiscal policies of Superintendent/President Stephen Epler. “Epler spends money like a drunken sailor…. There’s no accountability,” said Rubiales.
While the certainty of a budget deficit remains undetermined, a report provided to The Prospector by Rubiales reveals major disparities in wage increases between the faculty and administration of Yuba College. Listing the salary increases of assorted Senior Staff members and Classified Managers over a period of three years, the report places Superintendent Epler at the top of the list with a nearly 38% pay increase since 1997. Matriculation and School Relations Director Sheila White-Daniels follows closely behind, with a 31% increase in pay during the same three-year time span. Also listed was Executive Dean of Clear Lake and Colusa campuses George McQueen with a pay increase of over 29%, and Assistant Superintendent of District Development Marian Shivers with a raise of over 21%, among others.
The administrative pay increases included steps, longevity, and cost of living increases. In comparison, however, faculty pay raises encompassing the same factors have averaged only 11% in the same three-year time span. In protest, the YCFA issued a flyer exposing the rates of pay increases for 11 administrators-statistics later deemed inaccurate by Personnel/Human Resources Director Fusako Yokotobi.
According to Yokotobi, who was listed on the flyer, step and column increases granted to some administrators were not factored into the pay increases advertised. As a result, many of the increase percentages were inflated. Yokotobi noted, “Our salaries are in line with other administrators throughout the state…. Our cost of living increases are typical.”Angela Willson, Faculty Association President, is aware that the percentages on the flyer were incorrect, and has said the sheet will be amended and re-issued.
Campus Chief of Police Dennis Dunn also found himself on the protest flyer. “Step raises and pay adjustments are based on surveys of other Chiefs and other districts,” said Dunn. “I’m still not even in the upper 50% of comparable positions.”
Off the record, one administrator suggested that the attention given to the salary increases is simply a tactic of the Faculty Association and its interests to negate the position of the administration as budget negotiations begin to proceed.
Still, some Yuba College students have begun to voice their support for the opposition. “I can understand why the faculty is upset,” said student Holly Buck. “This is ridiculous when there are areas on campus lacking for a student, like parking and the condition of classrooms.”