Senate to vote on bill giving Marshall, WVU more control

By LACIE PIERSON

The Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  – The West Virginia Senate is expected to vote Tuesday, March 14, on a bill that would provide more flexibility in human resources and personnel management to Marshall University, West Virginia University and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

If approved by the Senate, House Bill 2542 would go to the desk of Gov. Jim Justice for his consideration.

The bill passed the House of Delegates on Feb. 28 by a margin of 61-38, and it hasn’t been amended by the Senate.

If signed into law in its current form, HB 2542 would allow Marshall, WVU and WVSOM to adopt their own employee classification and compensation systems. It also provides language for other four-year institutions and community and technical colleges to apply for the same opportunities through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the West Virginia Community and Technical College Council.

It also eliminates the mandate for a vice chancellor of human resources within the policy commission along with three support staff positions for that role.

Currently, public higher education institutions in West Virginia operate under a state-mandated salary schedule, employee classification system and human resources system.

The bill would allow Marshall, WVU and WVSOM to opt out of those mandates to do things like defining their own job classifications and descriptions for classified positions. The universities also wouldn’t have to comply with the state’s salary schedule, meaning officials could offer more competitive salaries in response to the job market and subject to available money at each school.

The bill also strikes nearly all of the language defining employee rights in the event of layoffs and recalls.

In the House, the bill’s supporters said it would decentralize management of the institutions from the state government and provide the universities better ability to attract and keep talent.

The bill’s opponents said the bill was imprecise in defining employees’ rights, saying that there were no measures that protected employees in the case of layoffs.

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