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CNM To Pay One-Time Bonuses

By James Monteleone
Journal Staff Writer
          Paychecks today for Central New Mexico Community College employees will be a little larger.
        After having employees go three consecutive years without a raise, CNM is paying faculty and staff a one-time $500 bonus.
        The money is going to all full-time employees who started work at the college before August. Part-time employees will receive a pro-rated portion of the bonus. In total, CNM has more than 3,000 employees.
        "This is a very small token of appreciation on the part of the governing board and the administration to say thank you," CNM President Katharine Winograd said.
        CNM wanted to give employees something extra after they continued to work without raises, despite a 32 percent spike in enrollment and a hiring freeze that left fewer employees to do more work, she said.
        Employees were informed of the one-time pay raise via email this week.
        The bonuses are expected to cost the college $850,000, Winograd said. That surplus was available this year thanks to the 35 employees who opted to take a retirement buyout and step down from their jobs before the end of the 2011 fiscal year June 30.
        In total, 105 employees volunteered for the early retirement payments of $1,000 per year of employment at CNM, but most will continue collecting a paycheck until later this year.
        Tuition at CNM will increase by 9.5 percent, which will cost a full-time student an extra $100 for the year. However, the one-time surplus could not have offset that recurring tuition hike mandated by the state Legislature, Winograd said.
        "I am heartbroken about every penny that a student has to pay, but I also have 3,000 full-time and part-time employees that have not seen an increase in their salaries in three years. I have to think about them, too," said Winograd, who is not taking the bonus.
        LisaMarie Dorian, a CNM administrative coordinator who earns $32,000, said an extra $500 this week is a blessing to help her family's budget as they prepare to pay their daughter's summer school tuition at the University of New Mexico. "It was an awesome surprise," Dorian said. "It will take the pressure off on thinking, 'Oh, gosh, I need to budget harder to pay this tuition that we weren't thinking of doing until the last minute.' "
        CNM projects its budget next year will be as tight as it has ever seen, but paying the one-time bonuses will not hurt next year's spending, Winograd said. The college believes it has set enough money aside to cover any unforeseen expenses, she said.

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