Finance wrap-up motion contains UW items

The Joint Committee on Finance concluded its work on the 2017-19 state budget on Wednesday, Sept. 6 with a wrap-up motion containing three provisions that impact UW-Madison and its employees.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank thanked the members of the Committee for their work over the last several months, which yielded a UW System budget with $36 million in increased funding, increases in capital spending, and employee compensation.

“We asked for reinvestment in UW System and are grateful our message was heard by the members of the committee,” Blank said. “We’re also pleased to see employee compensation increases accelerated by the committee today, which will help us attract and retain talent.”

The first provision in the amendment, called the 999 or wrap-up motion, moves the dates of two 2 percent salary increases for state employees, including UW System employees, to July 1, 2018 (from Sept. 30, 2018) and Jan. 1, 2019 (from May 26, 2019).

A second provision added to the bill modifies language previously approved by the Joint Finance Committee regarding the qualifications of president and chancellor candidates at UW System universities.  This provision stipulates that institutions – rather than the UW System Board of Regents – are prohibited from having a policy requiring candidates to be tenurable.   A Regents working group is currently studying the process for UW System President and Chancellor searches and expects to make recommendations later this year.

A final provision in the wrap-up motion puts back in the budget bill language originally included in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget recommendations relating to faculty and instructional academic staff teaching workload reporting. The provision was removed from the bill earlier in the budget process by the Committee because it was non-fiscal policy.

Blank previously expressed concern about the teaching workload provisions, arguing that they do not take into account the broader mission of faculty and instructional staff. “UW-Madison faculty provide service to Wisconsin in three critical areas — teaching, research, and outreach,” says Blank. “Each of these services is important so any method of tracking faculty workload should include all three areas, not merely time spent in the classroom.”

The budget will now move the state Assembly and Senate before returning to Governor Walker for possible vetoes and his signature.