Eastern Connecticut State University’s President Elsa Nunez sent her faculty and staff an email Tuesday to set the record straight about the $48,000 pay bump the Board of Regents reports she has been receiving since April.

She explains that her appointment as the vice president for state universities at the central office while maintaining her role as ECSU’s president actually saved the college system money. David Levinson, president of Norwalk Community College, received the same increase in pay to join the central office.

“Part of the rationale for selecting two sitting presidents to also serve as vice presidents was the realization of significant cost savings. While two separate, full-time vice presidents could cost upwards of $400,000 for both, including benefits, Dr. Levinson and I agreed to accept the appointments and a stipend of $4,000 a month each, or $48,000 annually. In my case, this stipend/salary adjustment (not a raise) was added to my base salary of $299,000,” Nunez wrote.

She goes on to write that the board actually did approve both her and Levinson’s “stipends” and appointments to central office. State law and the appointed board’s bylaws state that compensation is the board’s responsibility, a process that was bypassed when the former system president approved nearly $300,000 in raises.

However, members of the Special Committee on Administration created to sort out a trio of controversies that hit the system in recent weeks said during their Wednesday meeting that they believe that Levinson’s and Nunez’s appointments were approved but they don’t remember coupling it with a $48,000 salary adjustment. The members pointed to the minutes of the full Board of Regent’s May 17 meeting, the same meeting Nunez points to for when the raises were awarded.

All raises awarded to central office administrators have been suspended pending a review by the special committee, including Nunez’s.

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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