Regents approve one raise, will use existing policies for others

The Board of Regents on Thursday approved a $24,000 raise for one of the system’s top officials and heard that the 17 other raises for central office staff mistakenly approved by the previous system president will remain stalled.

Chairman Lewis Robinson Jr. told the regents at their monthly meeting that the system will rely on the previous policies from the community colleges, state colleges and online college system to dictate how pay raises are approved until the Regents’ committee on administration and compensation recommends changes.

Naomi Cohen, the chair of that committee, said the committee is also considering the appropriateness of all other compensation, including expense accounts provided to 16 of the college presidents and other central office staff where no receipts are required.

The 12 community college presidents receive a $6,500 unvouchered account each year on top of their salary and a $5,798 car allowance. The presidents of Eastern, Western and Central are provided a $25,000 unvouchered account. Southern’s president receives a $35,000 a year housing allowance.

This issue is also on the radar of state legislators. A bill being considered by the General Assembly’s Higher Education Committee would require documentation for these accounts.

The Regents have had a contentious past few months, as they received news that their system president unilaterally ordered 21 central office staff receive pay raises while everyone else in the system was under a wage freeze. Additionally, the community college presidents were being offered an “expedited” separation from the system also without the board members’ knowledge.

Key legislators also questioned the appropriateness of the compensation package awarded to the former president.