Richard Gray Photo Courtesy of UConn
Rich Gray, UConn's chief financial officer
Rich Gray, UConn's chief financial officer Photo Courtesy of UConn

The University of Connecticut will pay its budget chief, Richard Gray, $138,000 in severance when he steps down from the post next month.

UConn President Susan Herbst announced Gray’s intention to retire Friday to faculty and staff, but his separation agreement with the state’s flagship university, signed Thursday, indicates it may have been more than a retirement.

The agreement provides him with six months’ regular pay after he leaves — a payment the university was not required to provide for him to retire. The agreement also says that Gray is forbidden from making any “derogatory or defamatory statements” about UConn, and that any of his legal claims against UConn are settled with the separation agreement.

Asked if Gray was asked to step down, a spokeswoman was vague.

“He and the university agreed mutually that he would retire,” said Stephanie Reitz.

Asked whether Gray was seeking retirement or was approached by university officials, Reitz said, “We can’t discuss personnel matters.”

Phone calls made to Gray’s cellphone and office were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Gray’s departure comes during “very difficult budgetary times” as the university works to close anticipated budget deficits, Herbst told state legislators last month.

When announcing Gray’s retirement to faculty and staff, Herbst complimented his work.

“Since 2008, Rich has very effectively guided the financial course of the university through one difficult budget year after another, and all the while he has allowed us to advance our highest priorities and protect our academic core from painful cuts,” Herbst wrote in a letter to faculty and staff Friday. “Thanks to his financial acumen, UConn has continued to grow and thrive, even as our resources have become more limited or remained stagnant. That is a testament to Rich and his terrific team.”

Gray’s last day as budget chief — his official title is executive vice president for administration and chief financial officer — will be April 30. Reitz said Gray did not submit a resignation letter to university officials. His current salary is $275,599.

The school’s governing board will consider a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 during a meeting June 25.

For the current fiscal year, the university was forced to tap $30.8 million from its emergency budget reserves to cover 3 percent of its operating costs. Herbst told state legislators last month that the deficit remains as the school plans next year’s budget.

John Biancamano, who recently retired as budget chief for the UConn Health Center, will serve as interim chief financial officer for the university while a national search is under way.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

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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