Burmaster FCC

Elizabeth Burmaster, President of FCC, at a 2019 summer graduation ceremony.

The Frederick Community College Board of Trustees approved two emergency resolutions this week that will help the college save money in response to financial uncertainty brought about by COVID-19.

The board approved the use of furlough for all regular full- and part-time benefited employees and all auxiliary employees as a last resort, in case of a budgetary emergency. The other approved resolution involved the pay rate of essential employees during campus closures or emergencies.

Melissa Bard, vice president for Human Resources for FCC, told board members the first resolution concerning furloughs comes from the fact that community colleges across the state are facing possible reductions in state aid.

“We don’t know when that reduction might be or if there would be one but we do need to be prepared to face a reduction in our revenue,” Bard said.

The resolution, which was approved unanimously by the board, says the term furlough will be defined as “a temporary suspension of work and compensation” and will not exceed 10 days in total.

All employees, including the college’s president and senior leaders, will be subjected to the furlough and it will be conducted on a day-to-day basis. Employees will not see any impact to benefits or leave accruals.

“It’s a collective approach of everybody chipping in so you don’t have to resort to layoffs,” FCC President Elizabeth Burmaster said.

Trustee Tom Lynch said it was important to have this ready.

“I think it’s responsible of us to have a policy like this in place, not that we ever hope to use it,” he said.

The other emergency resolution related to compensation for non-exempt employees of the college, who have to travel to FCC and sometimes stay there during closures or emergencies in order to keep the campus running and prepare for reopening.

The workers are deemed essential and during such situations are paid two-and-a-half times their normal rate.

However, due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, FCC staff recommended that non-exempt personnel no longer receive the higher rate of pay but instead receive their normal hourly-base pay.

The resolution was approved unanimously by the board and went into effect May 14.

Follow Katryna Perera on Twitter: @katrynajill.

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