Friday, February 3, 2012

University of Minnesota

Maturi Deal Not Selling...

Joel Maturi's compensation package after retiring as University of Minnesota athletic director could hurt the university's future state funding, two legislators who serve on higher education committees said Friday.
On July 1, a day after he retires as AD, Maturi will begin a one-year appointment as a special assistant to university President Eric Kaler. Maturi will receive the same base salary he earns as athletic director -- $351,900 -- plus a standard university benefits package (health insurance and retirement totaling slightly more than 33 percent of his salary) that will push his compensation to more than $468,000.

Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville, the lead DFLer on the House Education Finance Committee, described the package as "a golden parachute'' that "will hurt the U when President Kaler comes crying poor to the Legislature for money for our students.''
Sen. David Brown, R-Becker, a member of the Senate Higher Education Committee, said he did not want to micro-manage every decision made by Kaler and the university's regents, saying legislators would ultimately have a say in the makeup of the regents if they disagreed with policy. But he also predicted that legislators would not forget Maturi's deal at budget time.
"It will influence us when they come to the Legislature and we've read these kinds of stories, yes,'' Brown said. "How badly do they need money if that's how they're handling it? I don't think the Higher Ed Committee is going to jump in [at this point], but again, it is going to influence what we think is necessary for budgeting.''

"The university takes very seriously the feedback we've received from legislators, positive and negative, and President Kaler and his team consider this feedback very carefully,'' university spokesman Chuck Tombarge said after a meeting with Kaler's staff. "To be clear, no state or donor funds will be used to pay for Mr. Maturi's salary, but certainly if legislators have concerns, the administration stands ready to meet with them and discuss those concerns.''

Kaler declined a request for an interview.

"I think it is definitely a direct legislative issue, because these kinds of salaries make legislators think, 'Does the U really need money and why don't they ever put it toward students when we give it to them?'" Greiling said. "Once again, it looks like the university is putting students last in terms of their budgets when we see things like this.''

Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, who serves on the Capital Investment Committee and whose district includes numerous university employees, said she has become almost immune to university decisions that she believes show the wrong priorities.

"I don't think any of us buy the argument [that foundation money makes it acceptable], but they give the argument with a straight face,'' she said.

"Whether true or not, in the grand schemes, perception is reality at the Legislature," Greiling said. "The university has the image of living in its own ivory towers, and this is just one more example.''
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7. 


1 comment:

TF said...

As an alumnus, whenever I feel aggravated at the U's latest moves - like this one - I appreciate reading your blog.

It is hard to know if U of M alumni dissent is widespread. One can't tell by reading the Star Tribune and MinnPost, whose editorialists largely echo the U party line.

Who was it who said that the TC area is "the world's biggest small town"? Local media would rather not challenge the U, except when unavoidable.

Anyway, thanks for your work.

- Tate Ferguson