Some employees voice concerns about budget issues at Tennessee T - WSMV Channel 4

Some employees voice concerns about budget issues at Tennessee Tech

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COOKEVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

There are growing tensions between faculty and administrators at Tennessee Tech University.

Recent budget shortfalls have resulted in layoffs, but News 4 has learned some administrators are getting pay raises.

It has been more than three months since Tennessee Tech administrators laid off 19 clerical staff and maintenance workers. The school’s board of directors is now giving university President Philip Oldham a three-percent raise.

Faculty and staff are getting state-mandated raises based on merit, so some will only get one percent.

“MTSU just straight out said, great, we’re giving everybody a three-percent cost of living raise. And our board chose not to do that,” said Dan Alcott, a Tennessee Tech professor.

A 2016 Tennessee Tech faculty survey with 149 responses found 84 percent were not confident that Oldham was leading the school in a positive direction.

“I want to know more from them why they feel that way,” said Tennessee Tech interim Provost Dr. Mark Stephens.

Stephens said improving enrollment numbers are boosting revenues for the school, but acknowledged the lack of trust from the faculty.

“I want to be very open and hear their comments and where they think we can improve,” Stephens said.

Oldham wasn’t available on Thursday, but told News 4 in March the 19 layoffs saved the school $1 million a year in expenses.

Records show Oldham’s annual salary of $339,000 has increased nearly 25 percent since 2012.

“I talked to them, almost all 19 after this happened to them, and the stories are the gut-wrenching part, how that will affect them and their families when they lose a job,” said Dr. Julia Gruber, a Tennessee Tech professor.

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