EDITORIAL: NSHE termination policy improves, but should be better still

If your employer was looking to fire you, how would you like to have a full year’s notice before your termination date? Or better yet, two years? That’s nice work, if you can get it. And you can only get that kind of work in the public sector.

Fortunately, at least one state government agency has finally started to reel in such poor employment policy — but it’s still not enough.

As the Review-Journal’s Ana Ley reported last week, the Nevada System of Higher Education approved a pair of contentious proposals: the first allows the chancellor broader authority over transferring employees between NSHE campuses; the second, more importantly, greatly dials back the notification time given to administrative employees facing termination. The new policy allows officials to fire those employees with two to six months notice.

The previous policy for firing administrative professionals hired before March 1, 2005 — about 900 employees — calls for one year’s notice of termination, and further, that notification must be provided by the end of a fiscal year. That means if notice is is provided after June 30, the termination can’t take effect for another year. Another 1,800 administrative employees hired after March 1, 2005, enjoy largely the same protections.

The new policy is still extraordinarily generous, allowing at least 60 days and as many as 180 days prior to termination date. These kinds of protections don’t exist for people in the private sector, who, by the way, pay the salaries for all NSHE employees.

Higher education officials and many regents are delusionally imagining that the 2017 Legislature will be the higher education session, after all the efforts made on behalf of K-12 education in the 2015 Legislature. They believe they’ll have proved the system deserving of greater investment. However, with employment policies like these, rather than shovel new cash at the state’s higher education system, lawmakers should instead be asking new questions.

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