Parkland College's board approves new faculty contract

Parkland College's board approves new faculty contract

CHAMPAIGN — Parkland College faculty have a new contract, and the college has a new vice president.

On Wednesday night, the Parkland College Board voted 6-0 to approve a collective-bargaining contract with Parkland Academic Employees, the union representing its faculty.

Under the three-year contract, which affects 162 employees, base salaries for faculty members will increase a minimum of 2.75 percent.

Parkland may add as much as a half-percent increase to the base salaries at a later date, depending on what happens with the state budget and the State Universities Retirement System.

If state SURS legislation should cause actual funds going to Parkland College to drop below projected funds by at least $500,000, the union and college officials have agreed to reopen negotiations for the contract.

The board also voted 6-0 to hire Marketing and Public Relations Director Stephanie Stuart as the college's new vice president of communications and external relations.

A former communications director for the Champaign School District, Stuart has worked for Parkland College since March 2017.

Her appointment takes effect on June 11.

She joins President Tom Ramage's executive team in the wake of the departure of Vice President of Institutional Advancement Seamus Reilly, who will become the new president at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg.

In other business:

— New police officers join force. Jason R. Metzelaars of Charleston and Alex M. Osterbuhr of Bloomington were sworn in as the Parkland College Police Department's newest officers.

— Financial adviser hired. The board voted 6-0 to hire Naperville-based PMA Securities Inc. as the college administration's financial adviser. The firm is expected to evaluate Parkland's options for restructuring its bond debt and analyze opportunities for refinancing.

Parkland Vice President of Administrative Services Chris Randles said the work possibly could lead to a tax break that "puts money back in taxpayers' pockets."

"Over the life of the bonds, we are reducing the property tax burden," Ramage said.

— Parking lot work approved. The board voted 6-0 to award a bid to Cross Construction of Urbana to upgrade the M2 and M3 parking lots on the Parkland campus for $1,150,692.