NWACC to Realign Jobs after Investigation
Arkansas Department of Higher Education officials are working with members of the Northwest Arkansas Community College to realign state-appropriated positions to match duties, said communications officer Brandi Hinkle.
The realignment is an outcome of an investigation into unauthorized pay raises college officials gave employees during a statewide pay freeze. The freeze was implemented by Richard Weiss, director of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.
ADHE officials have made a few changes in position alignment at NWACC, but were unable to provide specific information before press time, Hinkle said.
Documents provided by NWACC staff through the Freedom of Information Act show how the college officials are using state-appropriated positions.
In one instance, the state-appropriated title of chief student affairs officer was being used by NWACC as the executive dean for strategic initiatives, according to Jan. 13 documents. The NWACC title for this position was changed to vice president of college relations as of Feb. 14, though the same person held the same salary of $114,000 and the same NWACC title.
The state position of division chairperson/dean had been used for the person who previously held the NWACC title of executive dean for strategic initiatives. The maximum salary for the division chairperson/dean is $93,622, according to the appropriations act for NWACC. The maximum salary for the chief student affairs officer is $100,360.
The job description obtained from NWACC shows this position is responsible for strategic planning, project management, overseeing communication activities and projects with the president’s office, developing and recommending new or updated polices and dealing with diversity issues and board relations.
Reed Greenwood, professor of education at the UA, would assume the chief student affairs officer would work with students, he said.
Records from NWACC indicate the person who directly oversees Learner Services, the department that works with students in areas such as admissions, enrollment, financial aid and academic records, holds the state position of counselor, with a maximum salary of $81,686.
The oversights at NWACC are probably related to lack of oversight at the college level and not at the state level, Greenwood said.
“We [at the UA] have the good fortune of having good people to work on those things,” he said. “If problems arise they can bounce ideas off each other to resolve them.”
The state-appropriated position of regional technology center director is listed as having the NWACC title of vice president of external affairs, though in March the employee had the state title of director of community and continuing education which has a maximum salary of $94,872. The maximum salary for the RTC director is listed at $112,222. An organizational chart from January shows this person overseeing the departments of corporate learning, development and marketing and business development. The organizational chart and the job description for this position does not mention RTC. The employee who held the position has a salary of $114,048, according to the Feb. 14 document.
The associate vice president of corporate learning is shown to have the state-appropriated title of RTC teacher, which has a maximum salary of $78,061. The previous state position as of March was special instructor, which allows for a maximum salary of $71,342 and had the same NWACC title, according to documents.
Comparisons made from NWACC’s Jan. 13 and Feb. 14 position group analysis reports show some position changes including the state-appropriated position of computer specialist moved to a media specialist, and a computer support technician moved to a human resource specialist. These moves did not affect the NWACC titles or pay of each employee with the exception of another state computer support specialist, who moved to the systems coordination analyst position with a raise of $1,778, according to these documents.
It is his understanding that discussions with ADHE are ongoing, said NWACC spokesperson Mark Scott, and he is unaware of any realignments at this time.