EWU Policy 406-01: Exempt Employment (Draft)

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  • New provisions are added to identify when an exempt position may be filled through a direct appointment.
  • Modifies the timeline for conducting annual evaluations. Annual evaluations of exempt employees are for the period of July 1- June 30 and should be completed by August 31.

6 thoughts on “EWU Policy 406-01: Exempt Employment (Draft)”

  1. I’m supportive of limiting direct appointments without searches, so this is a good change, but it doesn’t go far enough. In particular, 2-1(a)(3) and (4) should be removed, because they offer free passes to do this whenever it’s desired. At our lean staffing levels every single position could be described as doing “critical work”, and this could most easily be applied to high-level positions where non-interim direct appointments are most problematic. And when would open searches ever not be “feasible” or “appropriate”? (I’m genuinely curious how a job search could be infeasible or inappropriate.)

    We have to do open searches for every faculty position except _adjuncts_. We have to do national searches even for one-year lecturer appointments, even when we have unexpected staffing shortfalls and are hiring on short timelines to staff classes that already have students enrolled in them. I realize admin exempt positions are a bit different, but the exceptions laid out 2-1(a)(1) and (2) are quite sufficient. And part of how exempt positions are different is that they oversee other employees, sometimes _many_ other employees, while faculty don’t generally oversee anyone, so you’d think the exempt positions would be held to a higher standard.

    I wouldn’t be so concerned if this hadn’t been an issue that Eastern has really struggled with in recent years. We’ve had far too many admin exempt positions filled internally with no searches at all (and therefore no consultation with the faculty and staff who have to work under or with these employees), and also far too many times when “interim” appointments magically became permanent again without any consultation. The exceptions laid out in (3) and (4) would have allowed most or all of these poor and opaque appointments to have happened, so as written the policy does not meaningfully address the problems we’ve seen.

    The exceptions in (1) and (2) can also be abused. (How would you know if the person is a uniquely “highly qualified individual” without doing a search to compare to the talent pool out there? Interim appointments are “normally” limited by a year, but there’s no actual limit?) But I think they are at least well intentioned, and offer enough flexibility to accommodate critical staffing needs. The exceptions in (3) and (4) are too broad, however.

  2. Non-represented exempt employees are the only employees on campus who do not have any type of salary scale. With the exception of COLA, this means that exempt employees could stay at the same salary for all of time. Even if it just mirrors classified staff, there needs to be something built in to compensate exempt employees equitably, on par with others at the university.

  3. In response to the anonymous comment above, this also means exempt employees can receive much _larger_ raises that those negotiated in faculty or staff CBAs. We have examples of admin exempt employees receiving 8% raises year after year when faculty were getting 2% raises. So any changes to specify a floor would also need to specify a ceiling, which sounds difficult to do in policy (remaining inflexible regardless of inflation). Flexibility around conditions (or mirroring what classified staff have) starts to sound like a union-negotiated contract… but these are admin exempt employees. So a reasonable goal, but unclear how to achieve it in practice.

  4. It seems like it is easier to be appointed if you are an external candidate than if you are internal candidate

  5. Based on the feedback received to this point on the website and through other channels, we are planning on removing the proposed language of “or appropriate” from 2-1(a)(4). Section 2-1(a)(4) will read as follows: “The position is currently filled with a temporary/ interim appointment and the Executive Leadership Team approves a written request to waive recruitment based on evidence demonstrating an open competitive search is not feasible.”

  6. The policy comment period closed on November 27th. We are no longer accepting public comments. A final version will be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval on December 8th.

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