Re: financial transparency (fwd)

James N. Porter (jnporter@YORKU.CA)
Tue, 27 Jan 1998 21:05:40 -0500


Arts Colleagues - FYI - James

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 20:13:50 -0500
From: John Willoughby <salix@YORKU.CA>
Reply-To: York University Faculty Association List <YUFA-L@YORKU.CA>
To: YUFA-L@YORKU.CA
Subject: Re: financial transparency

It might well be argued, don't you think, that those who perceive
themselves to be among the 'low' salaried might wish to have such
perceptions verified, qualified, or contradicted? We might be surprised
to find ourselves not so low as we had assumed; or perhaps even lower than
we had assumed! That's one of the troubles with the present arrangements:
so very few of us have any solid evidence for our notions of how well or
ill we are paid relative to our colleagues. In my Dept. (English, Arts)
we know, and have done so for 20 years. This has, I think, resulted in a
gradual 'sorting out' of salaries. I believe that I understand why
certain of my colleagues of (more or less) my own age and rank and years
of service get somewhat more than I do; and in the great majority of such
cases I believe that they deserve to do so. Others no doubt feel that I
am overpaid somewhat relative to THEIR salary. But at least we have the
figures to support our opinions, and the whole matter gets placed in a
more reasonable, less potentially divisive perspective, in the long term.
Maybe I'm being very naive in this, I don't know. But the issue of 'who
gets what', while I am sure it's still there, is much less of a
distracting and dividing force than it once was. (Oh don't worry, such
matters as curriculum and teaching evaluation and appointments have more
than satisfied the needs of our contentiousness genes.) Attitudes change
with age, too, of course, and with a gradual increase in income level; so
I appreciate that it is easier for me to hold such views than some of my
younger colleagues. But, come to think of it, I held them 'back then',
too.

I also think that the present arrangement is not unlike the divide and
conquer tactics that the administration used on us over the old,
uneviscerated Article 14. I agree with Walter Whiteley's posting about
the value of openess: it will be of great value to most of us in the long
run (not much to me, alas. I'll be dealing with the new, improved Article
14 by then. :-)) The truly special people among us will always receive
special treatment, and I don't think that's 'wrong', within limits. But
we do need to know the limits, don't you think? And if there are
unconscionable inequities (as it's just possible there are at present), we
should know about them so that we can work to lessen or eradicate them.
I'm glad Neal is bringing this motion forward, and I very much hope it
gets passed. It would be a very significant shift in our relation to the
administration. Knowledge is power, it is written (somewhere--surely
someone has written that down by now?), and we could use some more of
that.

On Tue, 27 Jan 1998, Ernest Lilienstein wrote:

> I, too, am not enthusiastic about publishing people's salaries without
> consent. My concern is not for high-salaried people, but for those who
> regard their salaries as low. ...
>
> On Tue, 27 Jan 1998, Neal Madras wrote:
>
> > David,
> >
> > The motions that I mention will help some towards the goal of
> > financial disclosure, but the real beneficiary will be equity.
> > I think this is worth some drawing of attention away from the greater issue
> > of total financial disclosure.
> >
> > Strategically, what would you have preferred?
> >> > Neal Madras
> >
> >> > -------------------------------------------------------------------
> > David Bakan wrote,
> >
> > Much as I am in favor of financial disclosure, strategically I am not
> > enthusiastic about this. The really great issue about financial disclosure
> > is how the administration and the board SPEND THE HUGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY THAT
> > DO NOT SPEND ON FACULTY. ...