Classified employees decreasing in WV community and technical college system

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Legislative changes over the past several years have triggered a massive transfer of employee positions within West Virginia higher education institutions from classified to unclassified.

Jenna Derrico

The Advisory Council of Classified Employees highlighted that during a presentation of its annual report Thursday before the state Council for Community and Technical College Education.

Chair Jenna Derrico said they represent classified employees at two and four year institutions. She said they also advocate for non-classified employees who lack representation and that the number is increasing. In 2020, there were 3,664 non-classified workers compared to 2,175 in 2017.

“That growing class of non-classified employees is not fully protected and represented legally, meaning they don’t have a legal protection to have staff councils,” Derrico said.

The report found there were 4,213 classified employees in 2017. In 2020, there were 2,782 of classified workers.

“We think that this is a detriment to the entire college system,” Derrico said. “It’s not good for taxpayers to have your employees treated unfairly or inequitably. It’s not good for them to lose their academic freedoms. They need to be able to do their jobs.”

Derrico said the change has also lead to complications in data collection and analysis.

In the report, ACCE advocated for more funding for higher education including its support for a more permanent funding solution for the state Public Employees Insurance Agency. Derrico said to attract and retain talent, salary increases should be considered in future budgets.

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