Employee Compensation Changes Since the Pandemic

By Carter Hanson // Magazine Editor

Compensation for current officers, directors, trustees and key administration employees increased by $733,781 between 2016 and 2020, while Gettysburg College’s budget went from a profit of $4.5 million in 2016 to a deficit of $3.5 million in 2020. Since 2020, however, the College has taken concrete steps to ensure that faculty and staff compensation was prioritized throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Form 990 records, compensation (including bonus pay) for the top administrators for which individual compensation records were available for all years 2016–2020 increased by a total of $460,229 between 2016 and 2020.

Of these administration employees, President Riggs consistently received the highest pay, averaging a compensation of $504,511 between 2016 and 2019. In 2020, Riggs received $438,848 in post-retirement compensation, while President Iuliano received a starting compensation of $309,397.

“It is frequently the case that retiring presidents are given a lump sum payout in the year after they retire,” said economics professor Brendan Cushing-Daniels. “Basically, a year’s salary in the first year in retirement.”

Setting aside the compensation for Presidents Riggs and Iuliano in 2020, the compensation of all but one of the other top eight paid positions increased from 2016 to 2020, with all but two of the positions outpacing inflation.

Other salaries and wages (for faculty and staff) also increased at the same time, going from $52,026,267 in 2016 to $54,600,844 in 2020. Taken together with the increase in administration compensation, the increase in other salaries and wages represents an overall increase in the share of the College budget devoted to employee compensation prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the pandemic changed the College’s strategy regarding compensation for administrators,

“[Pandemic] circumstances, and other structural changes in the higher education market, meant that we needed to adjust where we were spending resources, and that included slowing new hiring across the College,” said Executive Director of Communications and Marketing Jamie Yates.

However, the College did not cut salaries for faculty, staff or administrators during the pandemic, instead freezing all salaries and cutting some employee benefits. President Iuliano also took a 15% cut in pay and other top administrators took pay cuts in 2020.

Since 2020, the College has gradually returned benefit compensation for faculty, staff and administrators to pre-pandemic levels, while also beginning to implement salary and wage raises. In a June 1, 2021 communication, President Iuliano announced a “one-time appreciation award” of $1,000–$2,000 for all benefits-eligible employees. Then, in an October 18, 2021 message, Iuliano declared an increase in College contributions to the employee retirement plan from 5% to 7%, closer to—but not quite at— pre-pandemic contributions of 10%. The College has also made efforts to retain Highmark BlueShield, the current employee health insurance carrier, and to continue to offer the same employee health plans as before the pandemic.

Finally, in a February 16, 2022 message, President Iuliano announced that “the Board [of Trustees] has now also approved a 2% increase in the compensation pool available for annual merit increases for faculty […] and administrators.”

Iuliano also announced that “beginning March 11, the College will increase its starting minimum wage for benefits-eligible employees to $15.00 per hour.”

This article originally appeared on page 9 of the April 25, 2022 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.

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Author: Carter Hanson

Carter Hanson '23 is the Magazine Editor of The Gettysburgian. He has previously worked as Opinions Editor, Investigative Reporter and Staff Writer. He is a political science and philosophy major from Boulder, Colorado. Beyond the Gettysburgian, he serves as the Treasurer of Gettysburg College Democrats and is a member of the Four Scores A Capella group. When not in class or busy with one of his many extracurriculars, he enjoys crushing the competition in Wordle, reading sci-fi parables of political theory and skiing down the steepest mountains he can find.

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