Legislative briefings outline priorities

by | Nov 2, 2020 | Foundation

Above: Sen. Briggs Hopson, Dr. Stephen Vacik, Rep. Kevin Ford and Rep. Oscar Denton at the legislative briefing held on the Vicksburg-Warren Campus

As a nod to social distancing, Hinds separated the usual fall legislative luncheon into four smaller briefings at the Raymond, Rankin, Vicksburg-Warren Campuses and at the Jackson Campus-Academic/Technical Center.

Each briefing featured a tour of facilities highlighting challenges as well as bright spots. In some cases, the briefings were the first time Hinds President Dr. Stephen Vacik has been able to meet lawmakers.

Of the six priorities of the Mississippi Association of Community Colleges presidents, Dr. Vacik ranked funding for a 3 percent employee raise, a funding boost to the formula that every college gets for operations and Dual Credit scholarships as the ones he views as most important.

“This is no. 1 for me – funding a 3 percent salary increase for our employees. We have not had an across-the-board employee salary increase since 2008, backed by legislative appropriation,” he said. “I was at East Mississippi Community College the last time. I remember it.

“The problem is if we don’t do something to help the salaries of our employees, we are no longer being as competitive as we need to be with private industry. They leave us and go elsewhere. Not keeping our salaries competitive is unfair to the people who have been loyal to the institution and loyal to the state of Mississippi,” Dr. Vacik said.

Rep. De’Keither Stamps, left, Dr. Stephen Vacik and Rep. Stephanie Foster at the legislative briefing held at the Raymond Campus
Attending a legislative briefing on the Rankin Campus were, from left, Sen. Josh Harkins, Rep. Tom Weathersby, Rep. Lee Yancey, Hinds President Dr. Stephen Vacik, Rep. Fred Shanks and Rep. Gene Newman.
Front from left, Rep. Alyce Clarke and Sen. Hillman Frazier; back, Sen. Sollie Norwood, Dr. Stephen Vacik and Sen. David Blount at the legislative briefing at Jackson Campus-Academic/Technical Center