Message from Vice Chancellor Reese: 3 Percent COLA for Non-Represented Staff

July 13, 2015


On behalf of Chancellor Leland, I am pleased to announce that, as a result of the successful outcome of the State budget process for 2015-16, President Napolitano has directed all campuses to move forward with plans to administer a 3 percent budget in relation to the salary program for non-represented staff for fiscal year 2015-16.

After consideration of a number of factors, including overall salary equity at Merced and the lack of adequate performance-based systems (which are being addressed this year with the introduction of the new Halogen E-Appraisal performance management system), Chancellor Leland has directed me to apply the 3 percent salary increase across the board. This represents a cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) and is not performance-based. Like last year, all non-represented employees will be eligible, including those with limited or floater appointments. Contract appointments are exempt unless provisions in the contract allow for such increases, and there is adequate funding. Increases will be retroactive to July 1, 2015.

As President Napolitano wrote in her letter to Chancellor Leland, the new State budget agreement allows for predictability of the salary program for non-represented staff, and “therefore allows the University to move decisively toward becoming more of a performance-based culture.” The president is therefore requiring all campuses to implement a merit-based pay for performance model for non-represented employees beginning in FY 2016-17.

This is in keeping with the chancellor’s own goals for the Merced campus, which were articulated in the launch of the new three-year compensation initiative to address historical salary inequities. With greater strides in equity and implementation of the new Halogen system, we might well have moved at least partially to a performance-based salary program this year. However, in the spirit of fairness and prudence, Chancellor Leland believes the campus can absorb another year of across-the-board increases, with the understanding that we will move entirely to a pay-for-performance model next year.

This makes participation in the new performance management program all the more critical. It begins with every employee completing a summary of accomplishments by this Wednesday (July 15), which allows everyone to be a partner in their professional development and career planning. As a campus, we are committed to a performance management system that promotes a culture of shared responsibility between supervisor and employee and aligns those efforts with departmental and campus goals.  Our goal is a system that promotes consistency in performance assessment, motivates all employees to perform at their best, and is conducted with fairness and transparency.  Implicit in this system are new tools that ensure performance planning, assessment, coaching and development.

For more information on performance management, visit Human Resources’ website at

Best regards,

Michael Reese

Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services