Florida Politics: Long Running Media Attack on Public Workers

February 7, 2011. Florida newspapers align themselves with reactionary voices to join fight against teachers, police, firefighters; Editors “want Florida’s public employees to be paid on a par with those in our ‘low-wage, boom-bust, service economy’.”

View original post at flapolitics.com.

(Sun Feb 06, 2011)

The attack on public employees by the Chamber/AIF/League of Cities aligned editorial boards of Florida’s newspaper companies – including the so-called “liberal newspapers – has continued for years.   A version of the following , concededly crude post appeared  here three years ago.

– – – – – – – – – –

The Orlando Sentinel editors believe Florida state and local governments’ financial problems can be traced to the “fatter paychecks of government workers”. These charming experts in public finance, in a delightfully titled editorial – Fattening Up: Local and state governments are overly generous to employees – complain that public employees are compensated too well. The editors make three (3) points, which we address in detail below.

As their first argument, the editors hit us with their best punch:

the wages of city and county workers in Florida grew by more than 20 percent between 2001 and 2006, and the average salaries of all local government workers is now higher than those who work for businesses.

The editors find it outrageous that

the average pay for city and county workers in Florida in 2006 was nearly $41,000 compared to about $38,000 for businesses. … Wow. So much for the struggling public employee[*].

Of course, the figures used by the editors for “comparison” include the minimum wages and miserly benefits received by “service workers” who dominate Florida’s private sector economy, as well as the wages (and in most cases the complete absence of benefits) of part-time and temporary workers.

Ironically, these lower private sector wages also include the unskilled and semi-skilled jobs formerly performed by government workers, which have in recent years been subcontracted out to private companies paying even lower wages and providing fewer (if any) benefits than the public sector.

Overpaid SWAT Team member, whose salary exceeds the average of “those who work for businesses”, prepares to rescue taxpayer held hostage

That leaves Florida governments employing for the most part workers performing core government functions, like state troopers, nursing home inspectors, corrections officers, paramedics, lift station mechanics, firefighters (including Bomb and Arson squads, Hazmat teams, forest firefighters, and High Angle Rescue Teams), building inspectors, fish and wildlife officers, environmental protection inspectors, and, municipal police officers/deputies (including Hostage Rescue, Tactical and SWAT teams), FDLE special agents, and … oh yeah, those wildly overpaid teachers. Do the Sentinel editors really want the wages and benefits of these critical employees compared to, and reduced to the level of, the wages and benefits received by workers struggling in Florida’s largely service sector economy? Apparently they do. Indeed, a Sentinel columnist recently (and correctly) characterized Florida’s economy as a “low-wage, boom-bust, service economy that has plagued us since the first bungalow went up in St. Augustine.” Plainly, the Sentinel editors want Florida’s public employees to be paid on a par with those in our “low-wage, boom-bust, service economy”. Nice.

The editorial board’s second argument is that many public employees have the unmitigated temerity to enjoy real pensions, to wit: defined benefit plans, as opposed to defined contribution plans. In this connection, the Sentinel editors praise the fact that the private sector has “replaced expensive [defined benefit] pensions with [cheap defined contribution] 401(k) plans,” and complain that “few governments have done the same.”

Selfish Tactical team officers, with “platinum benefit packages”, prepare to assault meth lab operation in taxpayers’ neighborhood

Of course, the slum lord**, union bashing***, and scab supplying**** hypocrites*****, like the owners and operators of the Orlando Sentinel hate defined benefit retirement plans. Toeing the Chamber line, the editors support replacing defined benefit (DB) plans – which are part of what the editors refer to as “platinum benefit packages” – with defined contribution (DC) plans. The editors urge the elimination of DB plans because: (1) DB plans are cheap, and, depending how they are structured, the employer is actually never required by law to pay anything (e.g., matching contributions) into the plan; (2) the employee bears all the risk in a defined contribution plan; (3) even if the employer contributes something, it can unilaterally cease their contributions (no matter how meager) at any time (that is, if the employees are not unionized); and (4) defined contribution plans do not guarantee that an employee will receive any particular retirement benefit (have you looked at your 401(k) plan’s performance lately?) Oh yeah, did we mention that DC plans are real cheap.

Forest firefighter “fattening up” on “overly generous” benefits as she prepares to enter inferno in state forest enjoyed by taxpayers

The editors third “argument” is that public employers have not gutted health insurance benefits: they write that “while businesses cut back on health-insurance benefits … few governments have done the same.” You read that right, the editors actually argue that health-insurance benefits should be “cut back”. The reason that, because the private sector – in the absence of a strong union movement – has been able to shift most if not all health care costs to employees (after all, there is no law requiring employers to provide health insurance at all), government should do the same. Taking this “argument” to its logical conclusion, why not eliminate public employee employee health insurance in its entirety – after all, wouldn’t that be cheaper for the taxpayer, at least in the (very) short run. The bottom line is that the Sentinel editors believe that the public sector – which, unlike most of the private sector, actually treats its employees with a modicum of decency – is a drag on the private sector’s ability (including the Sentinel in its capacity of an employer) to unrestrainedly exploit employees for the sake of making a buck.

We know and accept that corporate America is an amoral machine that cares nothing about anything else but profit, but one would hope that our society – acting through its elective representatives – would care about something greater than joining Florida’s private sector in its race to the bottom. The Sentinel editorial board does not share that hope.

– – – – – – – – – –

* Could these be the same faux “struggling public employees” the Sentinel acknowledged a couple of weeks ago could not afford to buy a home in Orange County? “A study by the county’s 2006 task force showed that most homes were far out of the price range of 75 percent of all Orange County residents. … The market leaves … police, firefighters and other workers with few options.”[No longer available online].

** The Tribune Company’s new owner is a “real estate mogul [sic]”, with a wide wingnut streak: “the mention of Hillary Clinton’s name prompted him to use a four-letter obscenity to describe her.” More here: “The Orlando Sentinel editors are at it again“.

*** The Sentinel’s anti-union glee is no secret: see e.g., “Ignorance“, “Sentinel At It Again” and “Oh … The Horror“.

**** During a strike involving a Tribune Company newspaper [the Baltimore Sun] a few years back, “guess where Tribune’s finding its [reporter and editor] scabs? ‘Florida is supplying them with a lot,’ says one Sentinel source”.

Indeed, “potential scabs are offered Sun pay on top of their normal salary — more than double their pay, for scabs coming from regional papers like the Sentinel — plus per-diem expenses and even security to deal with the hecklers.” “Send in the scabs“.

By the way, we all can agree on what a scab is, can’t we? No less a figure than Jack London, described as “the most successful writer in America in the early 20th Century” – and presumably someone for whom the Sentinel writers have some respect – is attributed with putting it this way (as quoted by the U.S. Supreme Court):

The Scab “After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab.” “A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.” “When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and Angels weep in Heaven, and the Devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out.” “No man (or woman) has a right to scab so long as there is a pool of water to drown his carcass in, or a rope long enough to hang his body with. Judas was a gentleman compared with a scab. For betraying his Master, he had character enough to hang himself. A scab has not.” “Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Judas sold his Savior for thirty pieces of silver. Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of a commission in the British Army.

The scab sells his birthright, country, his wife, his children and his fellowmen for an unfulfilled promise from his employer.” “Esau was a traitor to himself; Judas was a traitor to his God; Benedict Arnold was a traitor to his country; a SCAB is a traitor to his God, his country, his family and his class.”

See also this Jack London paper in “the Atlantic’s series of papers on the Ethics of Business.”

***** The Orlando Sentinel has editorialized long and hard against newspapers being subject to lawsuits for so-called “false light” torts, while at the very same time the Sentinel’s lawyers were threatening another newspaper with, you guessed it, a “false light” lawsuit. “Oh … The Hypocrisy“.

NY Times: States Seek Laws to Curb Power of Unions

January 4, 2011. Labor leaders say it’s Republican payback for unions’ support of Democratic political candidates

By Steven Greenhouse

Faced with growing budget deficits and restive taxpayers, elected officials from Maine to Alabama, Ohio to Arizona, are pushing new legislation to limit the power of labor unions, particularly those representing government workers, in collective bargaining and politics.

State officials from both parties are wrestling with ways to curb the salaries and pensions of government employees, which typically make up a significant percentage of state budgets. On Wednesday, for example, New York’s new Democratic governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, is expected to call for a one-year salary freeze for state workers, a move that would save $200 million to $400 million and challenge labor’s traditional clout in Albany.

But in some cases — mostly in states with Republican governors and Republican statehouse majorities — officials are seeking more far-reaching, structural changes that would weaken the bargaining power and political influence of unions, including private sector ones.

For example, Republican lawmakers in Indiana, Maine, Missouri and seven other states plan to introduce legislation that would bar private sector unions from forcing workers they represent to pay dues or fees, reducing the flow of funds into union treasuries. In Ohio, the new Republican governor, following the precedent of many other states, wants to ban strikes by public school teachers.

Some new governors, most notably Scott Walker of Wisconsin, are even threatening to take away government workers’ right to form unions and bargain contracts.

Read more at nytimes.com

How FAU Faculty Won

September 9, 2010. On overcoming challenges to tenure, truth, and what the profession at FAU is worth.

It is not entirely good form to “toot one’s own horn,” especially when victory or defeat are undecided. Yet if one doesn’t take a bow once the final whistle has sounded those in attendance may not recollect what parties, if any, deserved recognition. This is especially the case for FAU faculty.

To sum things up, it has been we have been through a great deal over the past sixteen months. You will recall that in the spring of 2009 under the tutelage of former Republican Lieutenant Governor and FAU President Frank Brogan, the FAU Board of Trustees spurned a modest salary increase recommended by an impartial arbitrator. “The University can’t afford it,” the already demoralized faculty were told. “After all, times are tough and we all have to pull in our belts.” Also at the time, there seemed to be no prospect of Brogan departing FAU anytime soon. Let’s not kid ourselves. It’s difficult to beat a $340K-per-year gig that comes with free rent.

The following month, as if to add insult to injury, the Brogan administration terminated five tenured faculty members. The firings were justified under a shotgun reorganization of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. In terms of publicity and any semblance of professional decorum, the terminations were a colossal blunder for all involved–including administrators. Less than one week after they occurred, the Faculty Senate held an emergency meeting condemning the actions. A week before they took place, concerned about the administration’s opacity and evasions, I made numerous public records requests to find out more about Engineering’s alleged reorganization and what this meant for faculty in the College and the University as a whole. UFF subsequently filed grievances on behalf of the faculty and chapter, and the entire affair was watched closely by the local press. In two subsequent Trustees’ meetings the Faculty Senate President struck poignant (though arguably too short-lived) stances opposing Engineering’s reorganization.

I also wrote angrily about the salary decision and firings on the “pages” of this blog. Both actions were personal for me as they were for many other faculty members. They were also wrought with professional implications. But to paraphrase a political figure whom I’ve seldom felt much affinity with, Extremism in defense of the profession is no vice. In other words, to accept the severe potential compromises to academic freedom and free association symbolized in these actions would be to turn one’s back on what we as faculty have essentially devoted our professional lives to, regardless of our discipline. And, if the move to render tenure meaningless was not vigorously contested, the damage to the institution would be immense since an FAU faculty position would be perceived as an increasingly empty promise, subject to the unchecked designs of those who are often far-removed from the everyday task of carrying out the University’s instructional and research missions.

Along these lines, another thing that stuck in my craw was the University’s alleged budget crisis–a crisis under which broad reorganization of colleges and departments was proposed (and which may still proceed under somewhat different auspices). There was no question that FAU and other state universities have lost some funding from the state. Yet the University also possesses many millions in reserve assets, stocks, and other securities that could have been utilized to shore up certain shortfalls, particularly as these related to instructional quality, while providing much-needed salary increases for faculty.

My suspicion that something was rotten in the state of Denmark was confirmed in the release of FAU’s 2008-09 Financial Audit, which revealed that when the administration and its attorneys were busy pleading poverty and dismissing tenured professors, FAU’s unrestricted net reserve assets increased by twenty percent. This canard endured through April and May of 2010, when a few professors even proposed forfeiting a portion of their retirement benefits to bolster the University’s coffers. Lo and behold, the following month the sea parted and faculty and staff were informed of potential 3% salary increases.

So, how much has changed since last year? Perhaps a great deal more than we realize (or wish to fully acknowledge in polite company). The five professors who were stripped of their tenure and shown the door have since been given new appointments with their seniority and tenure intact. Because of these actions UFF has chosen not to proceed with filing Unfair Labor Practice charges and a lawsuit to compel arbitration. We may safely conclude that the re-appointment of these professors was done with the prompting of some very “squeaky wheels” from both UFF and a handful of those in faculty governance.

Although painful, the past year’s events also led to a positive outcome in terms of restoring FAU’s leadership and direction; the Board of Trustees embarked on a painstaking process to appoint a new university president. In fact, the Trustees’ lengthy and careful discussion on the final candidates’ merits and drawbacks for FAU should be considered among the University’s finer moments. They acted independently and impartially to conclude the process that at least some of us were skeptical about from the start.

As noted, when the Trustees’ choice took the reins in June there was almost immediate movement on faculty and staff salaries–in other words, an attempt to address what UFF had been pointing to in its newsletter, at the bargaining table, and on this blog for the past three years. We regret that there was not a greater effort to distinguish between the less-well-paid faculty and already highly-compensated administrators. Yet as things proceed further we remain hopeful that this may be a step in the right direction toward not only more equitable corresponding pay scales with our peer institutions, but also renewing and strengthening relations between FAU’s faculty, administrators, and Trustees.

In solidarity,

James Tracy
UFF-FAU President

FAU Faculty Salaries Lowest in Florida

April 13, 2010. Recently-released AAUP Salary Survey shows FAU languishing behind Florida Institute of Technology and Florida International University among doctoral granting institutions, Tenured female faculty at FAU now have the lowest salaries in the state.

Florida Atlantic University now has an especially noteworthy claim to statewide fame: the lowest overall faculty salaries among the state’s public and private doctoral-granting institutions, and substantially lower salaries for tenured female associate and full professors. According to the recently published American Association of University Professors 2009-10 Faculty Salary Survey, FAU is now beneath Florida Institute of Technology in faculty compensation and even further below regional peer Florida International University. In 2008-09 FIT was in last place among doctoral institutions and FAU was in second-to-last place.

FAU administrators and trustees have refused to offer even modest salary increases in the 2009-12 Collective Bargaining Agreement that is presently being negotiated, almost confirming that FAU will hold the last place spot in the AAUP rankings for the foreseeable future.

According to the AAUP data, a tenured Full Professor at FAU earns over $4,000 less per nine-month contract than her/his peers at FIT, and $19,000 less than those at FIU. Yet comparisons along gender lines illustrate an even greater gap. Full professors who are women at FAU earn $11,000 less than those at FIT, but a staggering $25,000 below their FIU counterparts.

The disparities are a bit less extreme at the Associate Professor level, where FAU faculty earn $2,800 less than those at FIT. Yet on average FAU still pays Associate Professors $7,800 less than FIU. And again, female Associate Professors at FAU are the lowest paid among all of the state’s doctoral institutions, earning on average $8,500 less than faculty who are women at FIT and $4,800 less than FIU’s female faculty.

Only at the Assistant Professor and Instructor levels is FAU marginally competitive with its doctoral-granting peers. New tenure-track faculty at FAU can expect to earn a modest $600.00 more than at FIT. Assistant professors at FIU, however, start out at $10,800 more annually. Female assistant professors at FAU actually make $7,500 more than their counterparts at FIT, but still fall behind FIU by $7,300.

Instructors at FAU can expect to make about $2,800 more annually than at FIT, but $10,000 less than FIU instructors. Female instructors employed at FAU will earn $4,800 more than at FIT, but $9,600 less than if they were working at FIU.

The bottom line is that the longer one stays on faculty at FAU the less she or he will make in comparison to peers working at other SUS and private institutions. This is even more so the case for FAU’s female faculty. The FAU administration and trustees have opposed UFF’s requests for modest salary increases, such as the 2.5% salary increase recommended by the PERC Special Magistrate in April 2009, even though FAU’s assets increased by $76.8 million in 2008-09. In fact, assets have increased along similar lines every year since 2003.

FAU has resources comparable to regional peer FIU, but as the above suggests  over the past several years the institution’s human capital has not been a priority.

See related posts:

Medical School is a Luxury FAU Can’t Afford

FAU’s Assets Swell to Almost $1 billion

Average annual salary by academic rank (in thousands)
Florida State U (Florida)
U of Florida (Florida)
U of Miami (Florida)

FAU’s Assets Swell to Almost $1 billion: 2008-09 Financial Audit Now Available!

April 1, 2010. In June 2009 the University’s assets had increased by $76.8 million over 2008, operating revenue was up 14.6%, and liabilities decreased 1.3%.


The University’s assets totaled $974.3 million at June 30, 2009. This balance reflects a $76.8 million, or 8.6 percent increase from the 2007-08 fiscal year, resulting from invested funds from student collections on hand and amounts due from the State for public education capital outlay (PECO) appropriations. While assets grew, liabilities decreased by $2.4 million, or 1.3 percent, totaling $185.5 million at June 30, 2009, compared to $187.9 million at June 30, 2008.

As a result, the University’s net assets increased by $79.1 million, reaching a year-end balance of $788.8 million. The University’s operating revenues totaled $201.8 million for the 2008-09 fiscal year, representing a 14.6 percent increase over the 2007-08 fiscal year due mainly to a receipt of $8.8 million from the Florida Energy System Consortium. Operating expenses totaled $395.2 million for the 2008-09 fiscal year, representing an increase of 1.7 percent over the 2007-08 fiscal year (P. 3).

Download entire FAU Financial Audit in pdf by clicking here.

See related posts:

University Administrators Nationwide Cry Crocodile Tears Over Budgets

Review of 2007-08 Financial Audits of Florida Atlantic University (pdf)

Message From UFF President Tom Auxter on HB 1319 & SB 6

Thursday, March 18, 2010, 4:05 PM

Dear Colleague:

Legislative leaders are moving rapidly to pass a bill, HB 1319 (Grady), that could cut your Florida Retirement System pension in half. By changing rules about how pensions are calculated, they can cut your average yearly pension from $30,000 to $15,000, for example.  Tell your legislators to vote against HB 1319.
(See pdf of HB 1319 below for details.)

Legislators are also preparing to destroy tenure (continuing contracts) for K-12 teachers when they vote on Senate bill 6. (See link to FEA analysis of SB 6 below.) This bill abolishes continuing contracts for teachers (earned after a probationary period), places them on annual contracts, and makes both reappointment and pay raises contingent on test scores of students.  School boards will actually be punished in funding if they pay teachers more for earning advanced degrees rather than rewarding teachers for test scores of students. Tell your legislators to vote against SB 6.

Over time, the economic effect of SB 6 will be to eliminate graduate programs in education when funding is taken away for advanced degrees, and make it impossible to adequately fund undergraduate education degrees by imposing unfunded mandates (expensive reporting mechanisms) to check on test scores of graduates. In other words, it is an attack on the funding and potential enrollment in public universities and colleges at the same time that it is an attack on teacher tenure and professional achievement. It severely jeopardizes recruitment of both faculty and teachers when legislators strip away professional compensation and restrict the academic freedom of educators by abolishing tenure.

Moreover, if legislators abolish tenure for K-12 now and get away with it without resistance, we can expect higher education will be next — losing tenure and finding ourselves subjected to the latest testing scheme to decide if we have the professional standing to continue. Contact legislators now to stop attacks on the conditions of employment of educators. The loss of professional standards now will make it impossible for us to retain and recruit both teachers and faculty in the future.


Tom Auxter
President, United Faculty of Florida

Click here to view pdf of HB1319 (Grady)
Click here to link to FEA analysis of SB 6.
Read and Sign Defend Tenure Now Petition, by Henry Thomas, UFF-UNF President

Medical School is a Luxury FAU Can’t Afford

January 25, 2010. (Updated January 26) Over the past year the University’s top administrators have become especially adept at claiming there’s absolutely no money in the school’s coffers. But mention a new medical school and they’re ready to mortgage the farm. FAU’s pursuit of a medical school, particularly in these difficult times when Florida faces increasing budget shortfalls, will be bad for faculty, students, and the entire FAU community. Here’s why.

The FAU administration’s medical school proposal states that FAU can run the school with no additional dollars, if the state agrees to continue to provide the College of Biomedical Science with the 12 million dollar line item it currently enjoys. However, in all probability the School will require a good deal of extra money, and this money will have to come from other colleges, tuition increases and ultimately dollars that would normally go toward bolstering the already meager salaries of FAU faculty.

An even more troubling scenario is that the failure to request adequate funds to run the proposed medical school will likely lead to faculty layoffs, and Biomedical Science faculty are in a tough spot. A few years ago the FAU administration unilaterally took Biomed faculty out of the bargaining unit protected by the UFF-BOT Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on current university regulations, the Dean of Biomedical Science will be entitled to layoff whomever he chooses without regard to rank or tenure in order to keep the fledgling medical school afloat.

A medical school at FAU at this juncture is simply a bad idea–bad for students, faculty and staff, and the overall continued viability of FAU’s higher education mission.

FAU Medical Program a Milestone for School, County
Letter to the Editor by FAU President John Pritchett
January 25, 2010.
There are moments in the life of a university when it becomes clear that the institution is poised to take a quantum leap forward. Such a moment is unfolding at Florida Atlantic University right now. Last Wednesday, FAU’s board of trustees unanimously approved a proposal to end the university’s medical education partnership with the University of Miami and transition to FAU’s medical education program, in cooperation with The Scripps Research Institute. Read more at palmbeachpost.com

See related post:

Lawmakers skeptical of Crist’s $69.2 billion budget proposal

How is the Money Spent?

FAU Expenditures on Higher Level Administration in the Period from 2001-02 to 2008-09

This winter, in an effort to better understand the budget priorities of the University, United Faculty of Florida at FAU commissioned a study assessing FAU’s personnel practices. The report, titled, “How is the Money Spent? FAU expenditures on Higher Level Administration in the Period from 2001-02 to 2008-09,” was conducted by the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy at Florida International University. The researchers used personnel data provided by the FAU administration.

Overall, “How is the Money Spent” belies the administration’s continual assertions that it is acting in the best interest of faculty, students, and the University as a whole. Of particular concern is that over the past seven years administrative positions have grown by over fifty percent. While administrators continually apportion a larger and larger piece of the fiscal pie for themselves, faculty positions and salaries have grown far less vigorously. These developments have all proceeded under the administration’s watch and continued while the state budget crisis deepened. Thus, if there are any cost-saving measures to be enacted to deal with the ensuing fiscal crisis, they should rightly begin with administrative positions and salaries, NOT WITH THOSE OF FACULTY WHO ARE ALREADY PAID LESS WELL THAN COLLEAGUES AT PEER INSTITUTIONS ACROSS THE STATE AND COUNTRY. Moreover, in light of the data presented in “How the Money is Spent” the minimum 2.5% salary increase the PERC Special Magistrate has recommended FAU grant its faculty is modest and justified.

“How is the Money Spent?” coauthor Bruce Nissen responds to the FAU Administration’s critique of his study.

The criticisms were issued by President Frank Brogan Chief of Staff Randy Goin and circulated to the FAU Board of Trustees and FAU faculty on April 16.

(1)  One of the authors is affiliated with the UFF; one is not.  This proves nothing.  Instead of answering the analysis made and showing that the trend is not what the report claims, the FAU administration resorts to an ad hominum attack on one of the authors.

(2)  Our report clearly specifies who is classified as administration and who as faculty in our analysis.  These were perfectly legitimate comparisons and our categories are clear.  Administration arguments that there are different ways of categorizing positions do not invalidate comparisons between the groups we specified.  In fact, the different categorization done by the FAU administration in the FAU factbook shows an even more extreme shift in resources than our categorization does.  Every conceivable way of categorizing “faculty” and “administrators” shows the same results, validating our conclusion rather than refuting it.

(3)  The administration is invited to show different figures that show that the trends outlined in the report are not occurring.  The fact that they fail to do so shows that their complaints about our methodology and conclusions are merely attempts to “muddy the waters” rather than attempts to show the real trends in resource allocation.  Unfortunately for the administration, it appears that any conceivable way of dividing up FAU employees shows the same thing:  resources have been trending toward administrators.  That is exactly what our conclusion is.

UFF-FAU’s Response to the FAU Administration’s 4-16 critique of “How is the Money Spent?

UFF-FAU recently commissioned a study from The Center for Labor Research and Studies at FIU to examine the salary changes for faculty compared to administrators at FAU.  FAU administrators charge that it is full of inaccuracies – primary among them is how employees are classified.

We were interested in what had happened to the salaries of administrators who are generally supervisory to faculty.  Imagine our surprise when Chairs, Directors, Deans, Provosts etc., were not to be found among the ranks of Administrative Managerial Professional (AMP) employees but rather hidden in the ranks of Faculty employees.  So a little investigation of what constitutes Faculty employees was clearly in order.

FAU has three categories of permanent employees, Faculty, AMP and SP (Service Professionals).  Faculty is further classified into Instructional, Administrative, Research and Other.  Instructional faculty are the ones we mostly see in classrooms although most of us are also responsible for conducting research. Chairs, Directors, Deans etc also show up in the faculty ranks, but classified among administrative faculty – a little over 130 people in 2008.  Then we have research faculty – most of whom are recently acquired along with the Harbor Branch and the BioMed programs.  The FIU study includes both instructional and research faculty in its definition of faculty, but appropriately classifies administrative faculty in the ranks of administrators. The categories the study omits from the analysis of faculty salaries are school teachers, librarians and counselors.  The inclusion of those employees would only have skewed faculty salaries lower!

To validate our data, see the table below from the most recent FAU Factbook.  The FIU study includes about 877 FTE faculty, which matches quite well with the Instructional and Research categories of Faculty according to the University’s own numbers.  By any measure, growth in Administrative positions far outstrips the growth of faculty.







5 Year
% Change









Of which Instructional Faculty
























All Personnel*








* All Personnel include Adjuncts, OPS and Graduate Students.  Source:  FAU Factbook, various years.

How Is the Money Spent?

Factsheet Explaining Revisions to Study