All executive raises in Board of Regents’ system suspended

The president of the state’s merged public college system announced this afternoon that 21 administrative raises he improperly authorized have been suspended immediately pending review by the system’s governing board.

The announcement by Robert A. Kennedy, president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education system comes one day after the raises were first disclosed. Kennedy had told The Mirror on Tuesday that the raises were “mistakenly” approved, and he expected the increases to remain in effect at least until the board met Friday to begin its review.

Also Wednesday, board chairman Lewis J. Robinson announced the formation of a special committee on administration to immediately begin developing policies and procedures to govern the board’s decision-making process on compensation.

“I expect a full report … for the Board to review and determine the appropriateness of the salary adjustments, and whether or not any will stand. Clearly how this happened was wrong, and now we need to work on fixing it,” Robinson said in a statement.

It is unclear if the regents plan on asking the emolyees who have received these improper raises, dating back to last December, to pay them back while the board awaits a report.

When one of the largest of the 21 raises, a nearly $49,000 increase granted to Executive Vice President Michael P. Meotti, was first reported Monday in The Mirror, Robinson had said he did not know which parties within the regents’ system were responsible for settling executive salary matters. Kennedy said Wednesday that Meotti plans to return the increased comensation he has received.

“The standing committee on administration will allow us to more thoroughly and completely formulate our policies and procedures on a number of issues — including compensation — that are currently governed by policies that were adopted by four separate boards and remain in effect today,” Robinson said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy heavily criticized the raises during an interview today. Two of Malloy’s top staffers, senior adviser Roy Occhiogrosso and general counsel Andrew McDonald, met Wednesday morning at the governor’s direction with Kennedy, Meotti and Colleen Flanagan Johnson, who is Kennedy’s chief of staff.

The full Board of Regents is scheduled to meet at 2:30 p.m., Friday, at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.