September 11, 2000
Volume XXXIII, No. 33

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Question to the President

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Question to the President

A reader writes:

I understand that President Ricardo Romo at UTSA recently announced that employees at UTSA who earn $40,000 or less, and have one or more dependents enrolled in medical insurance beginning September 1, will receive $50 a month to help cover their increasing costs. I also believe that UT Austin is doing the same. Will you consider this salary supplement for your employees?

Dr. Howe replies:

You are correct that some of the U. T. components have found additional salary dollars in their budgets to enhance their salary increase programs effective September 1. At the Health Science Center, the Executive Committee approved a 3 percent salary merit program this year for faculty and staff, which is above the incremental funding provided by the Legislature.

As we became aware of the increases in benefit costs, the Executive Committee considered options to expand the 3 percent program. However, each of the options considered required budget reductions to departments in order to generate the necessary funds. Because the Health Science Center has undergone budget reductions in order to manage our overall funding, it was determined that we could not afford to expand on the 3 percent program.

The Executive Committee is concerned about the impact of the benefit cost increases for the coming year. We have worked with the U. T. System to mitigate those increases as best we could. We are also working the U. T. System to approach the Legislature this fall and during the next legislative session to improve the funding level of premium sharing dollars to reduce employee costs in the future.