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NSHE chancellor opposes consideration of CSN contract

A long-awaited contract for College of Southern Nevada faculty that includes pay raises has hit a snag after Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly said Friday he could not support placing it on the June Board of Regents agenda for a final vote.

CSN faculty ratified their first contract on May 3 after more than three years of negotiations over raises and an arbitration clause, eventually ceding the latter for a 1.75 percent pay bump.

But in a statement Friday, Reilly expressed opposition to the contract’s $1.9 million cost at a time when NSHE, like all state agencies, has been asked to make budget cuts. The NSHE Board of Regents voted last month to approve a budget reduction plan of up to $124 million that could see furloughs of professional staff and increased student fees.

“Given these considerations, and until greater certainty is obtained regarding the State and NSHE’s budget shortfall, I cannot in good faith, and at this time, recommend that the board agendize or approve a (collective bargaining agreement) from any NSHE institution that contains such a provision,” Reilly said in a statement. “I appreciate all of the hard work that CSN and the (Nevada Faculty Association) has committed to bringing a resolution to this matter. Once greater clarity on the budget crisis is obtained over the next few months, I will consult with board leadership and reconsider this decision.”

Reilly also expressed concern that the collective bargaining agreement appeared to be drafted after it was voted on by Nevada Faculty Alliance members.

In a statement in response to Reilly, Nevada Faculty Association co-chairs Glynda White and Luis Ortega said the chancellor had no valid basis for interfering, adding that the contract had only “typographical errors which no reasonable person would think altered its substantive meeting.”

“We are extremely disappointed in Chancellor Reilly’s odd action in recommending that the NSHE regents thwart the will of the CSN faculty and the administration, who after nearly four years have finally concluded a mutually beneficial agreement,” the statement said.

The statement added that the money for the raises came primarily from CSN’s reserves and said that without them, faculty would be facing furloughs while already being paid less than at comparable institutions.

White and Ortega also said Reilly had intervened to prevent a contract from materializing before, leading to the “impression that the chancellor’s real objection is ideological.”

Faculty previously said they believed Reilly’s earlier intervention was a result of his opposition to an outside arbitration clause, though the chancellor denied it.

Contact Aleksandra Appleton at 702-383-0218 or aappleton@reviewjournal.com. Follow @aleksappleton on Twitter.

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