TORRINGTON – Among items on the Eastern Wyoming College Board of Trustees meeting agenda Tuesday evening, two were of special interest. One will combine the agriculture and veterinary technology programs under one roof, and the other presents bonuses to EWC employees.
Discussion on the possibilities of locating Veterinary Technology and Agriculture programs – the two largest programs housed on the Torrington campus – drew comments from retired instructor Rick Vonburg, who, questioned the move that was proposed without input from the public.
Vonburg asked about potential changes to the proposed Agricultural Technology Education Center building on the North Campus in order to accommodate the two largest programs. Vet Tech has 71 students enrolled this fall, and Ag, the umbrella for a number of classes pertaining to the program, has 74.
He questioned how the two would be compatible, considering the types of equipment required for Vet Tech, such as X-ray and specialized lab
Vonburg said strategic planning should be done to determine how the changes would be accomplished, and the proposed change should be tabled until these issues could
Responding to Vonburg’s concerns, EWC President Lesley Travers explained actions that have been taken to ensure the government grant funding would still be available.
Regarding space for the combined programs, Travers said, “We won’t be jamming another department into the building” without making sure the changes would fit.
She added that accommodation for animals in the Vet Tech program would be made to the ATEC campus in the future.
During the transition period, the program will continue using the existing Vet Tech building.
Based on discussion during executive session prior to the regular meeting, the board agreed to pay one-time bonuses in lieu of salary increases for the current year. The bonuses come on the heels of previous staff reductions due to budgetary concerns.
“The bonuses weren’t as much as we wanted, but it was the most we could do,” said John Patrick, EWC Board President.
In making the announcement, EWC President Lesley Travers said, “Eastern Wyoming College staff and faculty have gone through some difficult times without a raise in over three years. All EWC employees have been asked to do more and have stepped up to the challenge.”
Bonuses will be paid out based on 0.5 percent of individual, annual salaries, on top of a one-time, flat-rate payment, ranging from $750 to $1,500, college spokesperson Tami Afdahl said. Calculations of individual bonuses will also take into account employee category, date of hire and length of service.
The flat rate payment varies based on when a person was hired. Those employed before Jan. 2, 2017, will get a different payment from people hired after that date, as determined by the Board of Trustees.
Total cost for the bonus payments will be $215,000 and will be paid from the Operating and Auxiliary Fund accounts. Individual employees whose salaries are paid through grants or through Board of Cooperative Education Services funds will received bonuses with monies from those specific accounts.
The last time EWC employees were given a salary increase was July 1, 2014.
In an email, Afdahl further said: “This action was purposefully aimed to reward employees for their steadfast and devoted service to the College and its students during the many challenges of the past one and half years.”
The bonus payments will be disbursed Sept. 27.
In other action, the trustees approved several resolutions pertaining to use of campus facilities, and heard reports on construction projects and enrollment, among other departments.
The EWC Board of Trustees took action on several new or revised policies during its recent meeting. All approved unanimously:
• Final reading – Board Policy 1.10 Chain of Command
At the July 11, 2017 board meeting, Dr. Leslie Travers presented a new policy on chain of command which establishes protocol for appropriate supervision and was passed on first reading.
• First reading – Revisions to Board Policy 1.0 College Mission and Vision
Last month, Dr. Travers mentioned she and the Cainet had worked on updated vision and mission statements, and a new diversity statement. A draft of the revisions was provided to employees for review at the Fall Kickoff.
• First reading – Revisions to Board Policy 2.0 Advisory Councils
The revisions clarify the three types of committees at Eastern Wyoming College and how those committees operate.
• First reading – New Board Policy 2.9 Media Relations
Clarifies and appoints official spokesperson for EWC dealing with the media.
n First reading – New Board Policy 2.15 Exceptions to No Alcohol Use on Campus.
Provides for serving alcohol at selected EWC events or guest events pending approval by the college president. Also allows use of alcohol as part of teaching a class.
• First reading – New Board Policy 3.25 Employee Performance, Coaching, Discipline
New Policy and Administrative Rules provides for a systematic process relating to employee performance, coaching, and discipline.
• First reading – Revisions to Board Policy 6.1 Use of College Facilities
Clarifies use of college facilities by external groups as well as the internal college community.
• First reading – Revisions to Board Policy 6.9 Animals or Pets on Campus Policy
Updates the policy to include verbiage regarding Emotional Support Animals and the process for requesting and registering the ESA.