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Strengthening HEO pay differential

How members can benefit

At a recent PSC chapter meeting at City Tech, a member rose to say that as a result of the 2017 contract, he received a HEO discretionary salary differential of $2,500 and wanted to know if that existing provision was still intact for his colleagues. It is – and, in this new contract, the provision is even stronger.

Thanks to the concerted efforts of PSC members, nearly 100 HEOs have received the differential and hundreds more are eligible. The PSC was able to learn from the implementation of the 2017 provision and win significant improvements in the new contract that will help fund the differentials and improve the process. We are urging HEOs to apply as soon as possible and consider reapplying if you were denied in the past.

HOW IT WORKS

Because the HEO series is “non-promotional,” meaning that when HEOs reach the highest salary step in the title there is no established or automatic path to move to a higher title, the PSC has fought to establish new ways for HEOs to be compensated for the work they do. The $2,500 salary assignment differential was created to recognize “excellence of performance or increased responsibilities within the title.” Assistants to HEO, HEO Assistants, or HEO Associates are eligible. Applications go through an approval process that first goes to a HEO Labor Management Committee, then to the College HEO Committee and then to the college president for final approval.

FUNDING AVAILABLE

Since implementation of the provision in 2017, most colleges have processed and awarded the differential to some or all of those who applied. However, insufficient funding in college budgets has sometimes been used as a reason to deny the differential. In the new PSC contract, funds have been provided for CUNY to supplement the college’s funding when they grant HEO salary differentials. This will allow colleges to approve more applications and should incentivize HEOs to apply. Funding becomes available on Jan 1, 2020, and all eligible HEOs are urged to apply as soon as possible.

TIMETABLE

While most colleges moved prior applications through the process swiftly and respectfully, others did not. Contract language now lays out deadlines for final decisions: “Eligible employees who submit completed applications to the college HR office by January 1 of each year shall receive notification of the President’s decision no later than the following June 30. Eligible employees who submit…by July 1…no later than the following January 15.”

Ordinarily it has not taken a full semester for an applicant to be informed of a decision but the PSC hopes that this timetable will speed the process at any colleges that were slow.

RECLASSIFICATION PROCESS

Establishing structures for salary advancement for any member constituency is a significant victory in a contract because it can be expanded upon in future agreements. It can also have other side benefits. College HEO committees will now meet at least once each semester to make recommendations on the differentials. They should also make recommendations on HEO reclassifications. The new timetable means that applications for reclassification should move through the process more quickly.

HOW TO APPLY

For information on how to apply, go to our website. After you read the basic information, you may also contact a HEO advisor on salary differentials and reclassifications at HEOadvisor@pscmail.org to discuss your application. HEO Chapter Chair Cindy Bink has done this advising for the past two years, assisting scores of HEOs with their applications. Now, HEOs Marcus Richardson and Gogie Padilla will be taking over and are eager to assist applicants.

We are pleased that members were able to identify problems in the process for granting salary differentials and so were able to demand improvements in this contract. Now we encourage all eligible HEOs to consider applying. If you are uncertain if you are eligible, you can look up your job history on CUNYfirst or call your HR office.

One contract provision cannot address all the issues facing HEOs, who have given extensive service to CUNY, but it is a victory that over time will affect the compensation and professional respect of HEOs across the university.

Andrea Vásquez is the PSC first vice president and the former chair of the union’s HEO chapter.