Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Perks pad pay for Illinois university presidents

Illinois public university administrators’ salaries are increasing, but only slightly, and some top officials are returning part of their pay for scholarships and to pay for other projects during tough economic times, a survey of college contracts shows.

The State Journal-Register obtained most of the contracts under the state’s Freedom of Information Act after questions were raised several weeks ago about retiring University of Illinois Springfield Chancellor Richard Ringeisen’s exit package. Under his agreement with the U of I, Ringeisen gets a year’s paid leave worth $273,500.

The survey of contracts and letters of appointment for all of Illinois’ 12 public universities reveals:

— Base salaries range from $620,000 for the new U of I president to $125,000 for the president of Chicago State University, although another $129,000 of his pay is put into a deferred compensation plan.

— The contracts often come with lucrative payouts when an administrator leaves the U of I system. For example, Michael Hogan, the new University of Illinois president, will earn a $225,000 retention bonus if he stays the full five years of his contract.

— Many contracts outline additional perquisites, ranging from a car and driver for the U of I president and chancellor at the University of Illinois Chicago to three club memberships for the UIS chancellor. A residence — in some cases two — is part of the packages, adding to the total compensation.

The contracts were featured in a May 30, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article