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Letter to the Editor: Change Wouldn’t Be That Extreme
 

Printed in the The Daily Progress / Wed., Jan. 28

I was concerned to read some misleading information in the story headlined "Schools to fight for charter status" in the Jan 11 edition of The Daily Progress. The story, about three state universities proposing a new partnership with the state, quoted a source as saying that University of Virginia employees would suffer.

Among the statements that need clarifying are:

* That employees could become "quasi-state employees," without the same retirement and salary benefits as state workers.

* That "cronyism" would prevail in procurement and the implication that the university is not now fairly hiring painting contractors.

In fact:

*Under the proposed legislation, classified staff members employed prior to adoption of the charter agreement would be able to continue in both their current health-insurance plan and the Virginia Retirement System. Each chartered university could continue its participation in the VRS or establish one or more new retirement plans. The new legislation also would grant boards of visitors the ability to implement salary increases for classified employees independent of state policies.

* While the proposal does not require compliance with the Virginia Public Procurement Act, an institution's board of visitors would be required to adopt regulations for the procurement of goods and services based on competitive principles, including seeking maximum competition. Additionally, U.Va. has two painting firms under contract, both competitively procured.

The long-term health and well-being of U.Va. depends on increased flexibility and this new partnership with the commonwealth. It is the university's intention to use it for the good of the university and the good of the state. The university remains dedicated to continue to provide the best possible working environment for all members of the U.Va. community.

Carol Wood
Interim assistant vice president for University Relations

   
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