FRC board approves raises for faculty, staff and college president

Following a closed session meeting, the Feather River College Board of Trustees convened their July 18 public meeting and approved new salary schedules for academic faculty, classified staff, confidential and administrative employees, and coaching and residence hall management.

In addition, the trustees approved an addendum to the existing employment contract for Superintendent-President Kevin Trutna, Ph.D.

On both items, the votes were 4-1 with Dr. Dana Ware, president of the board, and Trustees Bill Elliott, Guy McNett and John Sheehan in favor and Trustee Trent Saxton opposed.

The approved salary schedules became effective July 1, and included a 3.26 percent COLA (cost of living adjustment) for associate faculty and counselors.

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Academic faculty members were approved for the same COLA of 3.26 percent and a 1.24 percent salary adjustment.

Classified staff members were approved for the 3.26 COLA and a 0.5 percent increase at the top Step F level. Classified staffers include assistants and specialists, technicians, accountants, cooks, maintenance workers and other personnel.

Administrative staffers, head coaches and residence hall managers were approved to receive the 3.26 percent COLA and a 1.5 percent small-college salary adjustment.

Confidential workers, including executive assistants, secretaries, and human resources personnel, were also approved for a 3.26 percent COLA and 1.5 percent small-college salary adjustment.

Amended contract for Trutna

Following the Brown Act requirements for approval of FRC Superintendent-President contracts, Board President Dr. Ware read into the record specific language addressing the agenda item to amend Dr. Trutna’s current employment contract with FRC.

The statement explained the college was offering Trutna an updated agreement for four years with an expiration date of June 30, 2023, and a possibility of annual extensions beyond that date. Trutna has been with FRC for several years.

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The amendment awarded Trutna the same salary adjustment approved in the FRC schedule covering academic and other staffers that includes a 3.26 percent COLA and 1.5 percent small-college salary adjustment, bringing him to $214,139 annually effective July 1.

No step increases were included in the amended agreement through the 2023 academic year.

Trutna’s existing contract provisions currently provide a 403b “match” of up to $4,000 per year and he may be reimbursed for in-district travel and other expenses at up to $600 a month. Neither of these provisions is being changed from his current contract. Trutna travels to a number of meetings and makes several public presentations per month on behalf of FRC.

Dr. Ware stated the college president will continue to receive the existing health benefits he earns as an FRC employee, which were listed at $28,077 a year. All other terms of his employment agreement remain unchanged.   

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In board discussion about the salary increases, Trustee Saxton registered concerns about data comparisons with other California Community Colleges that he would like to see.

Administration staff affirmed that FRC salary considerations are made with comparison to other community colleges of similar size, rural demographics and student populations.

In its 2018 salary survey, the Association of California Community College Administrators shows the annual pay range for single-district community college superintendent-presidents at $169,539 to $367,862.

Saxton called into question FRC enrollment, stated his concerns and perception that the college is not growing enough in student population and said he was not in favor of approving raises without data, particularly for the college president.

Trustee McNett said, “I think it’s fair and equitable.”

Board President Ware added, “I do, too,” and called for the vote.

Saxton provided the lone dissent.

Dr. Trutna took a moment to enter an additional comment into the record and told the trustees that awkward as he felt about discussing contracts and salaries in a public setting, he wanted to express his appreciation to the board for their work on the salary schedules for FRC’s employees and management.

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“I really want to thank the board for that,” Trutna said. “What we accomplish together is due to the excellent work of our employees here at FRC, out outstanding programs and the students we serve. As I have mentioned before, I love working here and it is my intention to retire from this college.”