Friday, November 21, 2008

See, right there - $733,421

And I'm worth it!

OurLeader Makes the Front Page of The Strib
And It Is Not Because We are Number Three

As noted earlier on this blog, OurLeader's compensation has been in the news, both the Wall Street Journal and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Word has now trickled down to the local level and appears - on the front page - of the Strib.
U's president ranks 7th on list of university compensation

By JENNA ROSS, Star Tribune

November 21, 2008

University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks is among the best-paid university presidents in the United States.

Salary and benefits of $733,421 landed him spot No. 7 on a list of public university presidents with the highest compensation released this week by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Coming just days after Bruininks announced that he had frozen his and other U executives' pay, the ranking points out the tricky business of paying college officials well while tuition is rising.

Mark Nagel, the University of Minnesota's undergraduate student body president, said he appreciates Bruininks' freeze for 40 top employees, which in total will save $500,000 in its first year. "It's a good step," he said. "It's obviously a good show of faith."

William Gleason, a lab medicine and pathology professor, doesn't think a freeze is enough. On his blog, which often takes aim at the university administration, he stated, "If President Bruininks wants to demonstrate his concern about our financial situation, perhaps he should take a 5 percent pay cut?"

... [Patricia] Simmons [Chair, Board of Regents] said. "As a public university we care deeply about how we fit in with other public enterprises."

Bruininks came to the U in 1968 and has served as president for more than five years. University spokesman Daniel Wolter said that Bruininks does not comment on his compensation but said he was "quite surprised he ranked as high as he did."

[Another Wolterism to be added to the growing list. This brings to mind the recent performance of John McCain. I guess when you have a lot of money, you forget how much you make? You forget how many cars - or horses - you own? Mabye Bob should retire, but no - that would cost him a lot of money..]
According to Bruininks' contract -- which the Board of Regents signed in 2006 -- a portion of his supplemental retirement contributions in future years won't be paid unless he remains at the university until his contract expires on June 30, 2011. The university's total contribution is set at $175,000 for 2008-09; $200,000 for 2009-10 and $225,000 in 2011.

[So early retirement will cost Bob money. Think of the condo payments. Think of the horse boarding. Think of the children. I guess the Board of Regents is worried about him running off to Texas?]
Some students pointed to basketball coach Tubby Smith, who became the highest-paid employee in U of M history last year with a contract that started at $600,000 in annual base pay and includes more than $1 million in supplemental income. Other students didn't know who Robert Bruininks was. [hilarious] A few were shocked.

"It's kind of mind-boggling that the U of M president gets paid that much," said C-J Leonard, an 18-year-old, freshman who aspires to be a pediatrician. "Maybe this is just a bias, but for a public school, that's too much."

James McCormick, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, had total compensation of $394,700 for 2007-08. It included a $23,500 performance bonus.

And the comments were (predictably) not too good:

He clearly needs to make over twice what the President of the United States makes. He is clearly in the more important job.

$733,421.00 ?? This clown is ripping off the state. Think of this story the next time you hear the DFL talking about raising your taxes for "education
Unless you are a Regent just returning home from a reception with a buzz, you are living in a different world. Fortune 500 CEO's are not paid with our public money. If the UMN President is the 7th highest paid President in the country then I expect to AT LEAST preside over the 7th highest rated/most distinguished public university in the country. The U is not there.
Bruininks deserves much less than what he is making based on what he has and has not done at the U. The Regents would be well served to adopt a compensation schematic more in line with where the University ranks in the country. If the U is considered between the 30-40 best school in the country, then pay your President accordingly.

How do you suggest we structure executive pay then? Judge him by where he places the University. The scale may be subjective, but no scale places him at #7.
"A finite group of people with the background and skills. . . ." must mean that when one of them retires, a university will be forced to close. The reality is that Bruininks is just the head mandarin in a gigantic bureaucracy that exists only to perpetuate itself. Do you suppose if he left tomorrow that the U would shut down until a replacement was selected?
You get the idea. And it is only seven in the morning as I write. There will be plenty more where that came from... The U's budget proposal is road-kill at the state legislature this Spring. OurLeader may finally have to earn his money.

"We have no money, therefore we must think."

1 comment:

Raphael P. Muckrake said...

The reality is that Bruininks is just the head mandarin in a gigantic bureaucracy that exists only to perpetuate itself. Do you suppose if he left tomorrow that the U would shut down until a replacement was selected?

An experiment of which I am in favor! And I should go it a bit further:

"Those who make the decisions about funding priorities are the deans, professors, heads of departments and higher administrators. All of them have tenure and comfortable salaries, which apparently are prerequisites for deciding the fate of those in lesser positions. Since most of them rose to their present positions by doing narrow disciplinary research, staying strictly within the university hierarchy, maintaining social links with those of similar inclination, and generally not rocking the boat, it is not surprising that they are ready to make the necessary but unpleasant decisions - namely chopping someone else's job or course."