Pensacola, Florida
Monday September 1st 2014

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The Buzz 4/24/14

UWF Faculty Wants Pay Raises Over the past eight years, the faculty and staff at the University of West Florida have suffered a 16.3 percent salary reduction in inflation-adjusted terms, and it is hurting staff morale at the institution, according to the 2012 Faculty Culture Survey.

Meanwhile the university has included a 2 percent annual raise for its coaching staff in the administration’s preliminary budget for its new football program that did not go unnoticed by the faculty.

Recently the Faculty Senate unanimously passed a resolution for UWF to commit to average raises for faculty and staff at the same level as its football coaches, with a minimal goal of at least keeping up with inflation. They also want the university to commit a minimum of $600,000 over the next two years to address salary compression, pay inequity that can occur when new employees receive salaries near the same level or higher than those salaries being paid to the current employees in similar jobs.

The senate would also like to see the annual raises and bonuses for the university’s top administrators, including President Dr. Judy Bense, directly linked to the raises for the faculty and staff.

“When the Board of Trustees awards the University president a string of 5 percent raises and large bonuses, and the vast majority of the faculty and staff get zero percent,” said the Faculty Senate in its resolution, “there is a definite disconnect, creating significant morale problems.”

The resolution will be presented to UWF Board of Trustees and to the United Faculty of Florida to make it a bargaining priority.

School District Has Strong Balance Sheet Fitch Ratings has assigned an ‘AA-’ rating to the Escambia County School Board, Florida certificates of participation (COPs) totaling, $20.3 million. The COPs are expected to price through negotiation the week of May 5. Proceeds will be used to refund a portion of the series 2004 COPs for debt service savings.

The rating service stated the overall economic outlook for the district is stable because of its strong financial reserves, relatively stable tax base and low debt levels.

The district has a financial stability that both the city of Pensacola and Escambia County should envy. It had a $40.3 million unrestricted general fund balance at the close of fiscal 2013. Cash and investments in the general fund and across all governmental funds totaled $47 million and $156 million, respectively. The general fund quick ratio is a strong 5.6 times. The district has given raises every year except one.

BP Responder Cleans Up on Stock Sale The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Keith A. Seilhan, who coordinated BP’s oil skimming operations during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, with insider trading in BP securities.

The complaint alleges that within days of the rig explosion, Seilhan received nonpublic information on the extent of the evolving disaster, including oil flow estimates and data on the volume of oil floating on the surface of the Gulf.

“Seilhan sold his family’s BP securities after he received confidential information about the severity of the spill that the public didn’t know,” said Daniel M. Hawke, chief of the Division of Enforcement’s Market Abuse Unit. “Corporate insiders must not misuse the material nonpublic information they receive while responding to unique or disastrous corporate events, even where they stand to suffer losses as a consequence of those events.”

Without admitting or denying the allegations, Seilhan consented to the entry of a final judgment. He also agreed to return $105,409 of allegedly ill-gotten gains, plus $13,300 of prejudgment interest and pay a civil penalty of $105,409. The settlement is subject to court approval.