Garden City Community College Board of Trustees approve employee cost of living increase

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Members of the Garden City Community College Board of Trustees conduct their monthly meeting Tuesday in the Endowment Room at GCCC's Beth Tedrow Student Center.  This was the board's first in-person meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Garden City Community College Board of Trustees approved a cost of living increase for employees at their regular meeting Tuesday.

All employees will see a 3.5% cost of living increase for a total of $358,151. Of that, $267,995 is for exempt employees and $90,155 is for hourly employees. 

42 qualified hourly employees will receive an additional $1,200 annual increase above the 3.5%.

Ryan Ruda, GCCC President, said the additional increase for the 42 hourly employees is to keep their salaries competitive and to help with retention.

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Ruda said the decision to increase the cost of living came from the budget retreat, conversations where held in regard to statutory changes that could impact the central regime and this was one of them. 

The 3.5% increase and $1,200 increase for hourly employees will be effective with the August payroll.

The Board also approved the 2021-22 negotiated faculty agreement. It included changes in pay structure to overload, supplemental positions were added and a structure for academic titles that enhances professionalism and aligns with the common hierarchy in the higher education system.

In other business, the Board approved a contract with Ocelot, a website chatbot software platform for the GCCC website and social media. 

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The three-year license agreement will be paid for through federal stimulus technology funds.

The AI-enabled software and provides supplemental guided conversations and advice, videos, weblinks and assistance to questions in student services, administrative services, online, human resources, library and other departments. 

Ruda said software will "provide students and community members with immediate answers to a variety of questions at any time of the day. GCCC is excited to soon provide enhanced student engagement and quicker response time to student and community questions through this chatbot."