The Dodge City Community College Board of Trustees voted to approve its 2017-2018 budget Tuesday night with trustee Terry Malone voting against it due to salary concerns.

"I voted against it because it still contains an enormously high and unnecessary payroll budget," said Malone on Wednesday when contacted by the Daily Globe. "DCCC payroll had increased enormously from 2011 through 2016 — from $6M to just under $10M — a staggering increase of 65 percent."

On Thursday, Dr. Harold Nolte, president of the college, provided paperwork that disputes Malone’s assertion.

According to the records, salaries in 2011 was $9,106,538 and salaries in 2016 were $11,426,472, an increase of 25 percent. Records also show that cost of living increases were awarded to all employees — faculty and staff — totaling $1,844,233 during that time.

Staff received an increase in percentage equal to what faculty negotiated for each year. Records also show the cost of living increases ranged from a low of 2 percent in 2016 to a high of 4 percent in 2012. In fact, in most years the increase was 3 percent, only 2016 was 2 percent.

"We didn’t have any new programs during that time," Nolte admitted. "But, the helicopter program increased significantly."

Records show salaries for the flight program increased from $31,565 in 2011 to $766,038 in 2016.

Nolte also pointed out it is unfair to compare the college to Ford County as the county employs just 246 people while the college employs 703 people.

In June of last year, Malone made a motion at the Dodge City Community College Board of Trustees meeting to instruct the president to reduce payroll by no less than $500,00 before Jan. 1, 2017, reduce payroll by $1 million by July 1, 2017 and reduce payroll by $1 million by Jan. 1, 2018. The motion failed for lack of a second.

At the time, Malone asserted, "Most of the $4 million in payroll increases was spent on administration and athletics."

However, Nolte pointed out that administration levels have decreased — with an executive vice president position and the recently opened vice president of workforce development positions not being filled and the numbers of deans and assistant deans also dropping in the past year.

Nolte also said the athletic coaching ranks have been thinned some as the college didn’t fill a second assistant men’s basketball coach position to make things Title IX appropriate to women’s basketball.

The college also showed good news for the nursing program. According to the college, pass rates for students went from a 56 percent in 2014 to 77 percent in 2015, 88 percent in 2016 and currently 100 percent as of today.

"This past year’s graduates will meet or exceed last year’s numbers," said Mechele Hailey, director of nursing. The college’s program is currently ranked No. 6 out of 32 nursing programs in Kansas.

Finally, Nolte addressed comments made by Sue Hammond concerning back pay for 2016-2017 contracts. Due to the Independence Day holiday and waiting for legal counsel to finish with the contracts, the back pay was held up briefly, he said. All back pay has been mailed to faculty as of Thursday.

 

Contact the writer by emailing rbluhm@dodgeglobe.com.