East Central College (ECC)

A study evaluating East Central College’s pay rate for its many employees was approved by the college’s board of trustees early this week.

The compensation study, which was proposed in December as part of awarding raises to the college’s faculty and staff, is a long time coming, according to ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer.

“We’ve been talking about a compensation study for some time,” Bauer said. “The point of this is to get data on where we are within the market and also where we are within the state. But the primary importance is where we compare with the St. Louis market.”

The study is intended to provide data concerning the salary and benefits of ECC faculty and staff compared to those offered by other community colleges or similar employers. It will be conducted by MGT of America, a firm in Tallahassee, Fla., and is expected to cost $30,580.

The college worked with MGT once before in 2008 on a previous compensation study.

Bauer said the study is a follow-through on a commitment to ECC’s faculty and staff. He said it’s important, moving forward, that the college be competitive with area colleges.

“We increasingly find it hard to compete with other employers with our existing salary structure,” he said. “This study will quantify how our salaries and benefits compare to those employers.”

The study is a step in the right direction, ECC National Education Association President Sue Henderson said. But she hopes the company that executes the study will keep in mind that comparing a college like ECC with community colleges like St. Louis and St. Charles requires scope.

It isn’t rare that prospective employees will side-step ECC and head to other area institutions that offer higher pay, Henderson said. In some cases, she added, employees come to the college for a few years and then depart for a higher paying opportunity.

“It is going to help us understand where we fall in relationship to our competitive institutions like St. Charles and the St. Louis market,” she said. “We hire people and they leave within a year or two because they find someplace that will pay them more. We have that happen quite regularly.”

She also said the way ECC’s rank and promotion system operates is different from the other colleges.

“We want this company to understand what it is we need, what they need to look at and in what context that information should be viewed,” Henderson said.

She added that while there are other areas where the college needs to improve, the compensation study is a step in the right direction.

“We still have to look at internal inequalities, but that’s another piece of this,” she said.

Bauer said the study is expected to take roughly two months after MGT is awarded the contract.