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WKU President Responds to Discontent Around Merit Raises

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The president of Western Kentucky University says the school is examining ways to improve the process for awarding merit raises. 

All employees hired on or before July 1st of this year received a two percent cost-of-living-adjustment that goes into effect January 1.  They were also eligible for up to a four percent merit increase based upon the recommendation of their department heads and supervisors. 

Some faculty and staff have expressed frustration that there wasn’t a uniform system across campus for determining who got merit raises and how much.  WKU President Timothy Caboni says it’s important to reward talent in order to retain those employees, but across-the-board raises are not the most effective.

"The way we get to a place where we're able to retain our highest performers is by those individuals making more than others," Dr. Caboni told WKU Public Radio. "At the end of the day, an across-the-board conversation, in some ways, penalizes those folks who perform the best."

President Caboni says the most important thing that comes out of the merit process isn’t the dollar amount of the increase, but the conversations that occur around performance and how employees can make improvements in their positions.

WKU’s last 4 percent salary increase took place in 2008, and increases since then have been minimal.

Dr. Caboni says the university has hired an outside vendor to help make the process for awarding merit increases in the future more consistent across campus.  Also, a market study is underway to study faculty and staff compensation at WKU compared to similar universities. 

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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