PMAB rejects pay raise modifications for Center employees

Proposal to give higher percentage raises to lower-paid employees turned down

September 27, 2013


The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) today overwhelmingly rejected a proposal that lower-paid employees at the Presbyterian Center here be given higher percentage raises than top-tier staffers.

The proposal from the PMAB’s Justice Committee would have created a “progressive scale” of pay increases in which lower-paid employees would receive 3 percent increases while top-tier employees would receive 1 percent increases.

Current PMAB policy provides for a 2 percent across-the-board increase for all employees with 1 percent set aside for discretionary merit increases. A 3 percent raise for an employee making $150,000 would be $4,500. A 3 percent raise for an employee making $50,000 would be $1,500.

The current ratio of highest-to-lowest paid employee compensation is 7.67:1, said Justice Committee chair Noelle Royer.

PMAB member and Personnel Sub-Committee member Nancy Ramsay spoke against the proposal. “We have been looking at this and have been guided by the General Assembly’s compensation policy,” she said, noting that the current pay ratio complies with the policy and that the change would jeopardize the PMAB’s competitive place in the local marketplace.

Ruth Gardner, manager of compensation and benefits for the PMAB’s Human Resources office, said the PMAB’s overall compensation and benefits packages “are very competitive.”

PMAB member Raafat Zaki countered that the Justice Committee proposal “would apply only to raises, not salary ranges, and wouldn’t mess up any competitive issues.” The question, Zaki said, is “How does the church live into and model compassionate justice with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer?” He added: “This is a simple measure to benefit the middle and lower levels of our employees.”

PMAB member Glen Snider said he rejects “the philosophy behind this [proposal] that we’re rewarding the rich and penalizing the poor. What we’re hearing from our personnel committee is that all are fairly and justly compensated. The idea that somehow we’re being oppressive is not a position I support.”

Speaking against the proposal, Heath Rada, a PMAB member who serves on the Personnel Sub-committee said, “We have finally made gender pay equity a reality and are taking other steps to make sure lower-paid are fairly compensated.”

  1. "...all are fairly and justly compensated..." according to which set of values? The market? The PC(USA) is not a business; it is a church. I would be very interested to hear from those who are receiving top salaries to explain how this not only sits well with them theologically but how they feel this is representative of the gospel's economics. They don't have to accept the salary that is approved; they could take a stand.

    by Emily McGinley

    October 3, 2013

  2. Rather than offering salaries that are "very competitive" (read--like everybody else's), I would rather see the PCUSA (and local churches) offer salaries that are fair.

    by BPT

    September 30, 2013

  3. How disappointing that the PMAB rejected slightly higher salary increases for those earning the least. Seems to me I remember something in the scripture Jesus said about the least. Thank you Rev. Zaki for your support of a just and compassionate action that would have marked the church as different from the society in which we are to act as salt and light. The article is not complete enough to know whether or not employees at the lower end of the pay pyramid receive any other kind of benefits. And what is this about "competitiveness"? Isn't the church to concern itself with being one in Christ and for one another because of Christ? Our denomination and many in it are members of the economic elite although they may not believe that to be true. Maybe the church has also been privatized? Interesting that the article following this one concerned evangelism. Really?

    by Linda MacDonald

    September 30, 2013

  4. It's just like the current political culture, protect the rich and powerful by convincing even the poorest that it is the right thing to do. So much for the church demonstrating to the world a better way to live. I don't recognize the PCUSA anymore.

    by MSF

    September 27, 2013

  5. This is so typical of the PC(USA) in recent years - the rich get richer and the poor get fired. In order to pay the large salaries of those "on top" folks have been laid off and IF their positions need to be filled, they are filled by employees with little or no experience and at a much lower salary. It is really an unacceptable state of affairs and I am grieved to know this is what the church thinks of the employees who do so much of the support work. It's not the Presbyterian church that I loved.

    by A. McAulay

    September 27, 2013