October 3, 2011
Utah Board of Regents rolls back salary increases after governor’s reaction
In a special teleconference meeting, the regents unanimously voted to roll back its earlier decision to give raises to Utah’s eight college and university presidents.
The move comes a week after Utah Gov. Gary Herbert sent a letter to the regents, asking them to put off the voted raises until a comprehensive salary study is completed next spring. “As you conduct that analysis, I trust you will also be sensitive to our current economic climate and state budgetary constrains,” Herbert wrote.
Citing concern that the salaries of Utah’s presidents were slipping to about 30 percent below national president salary averages, regents last month passed raises ranging from 3 to 11 percent. The move sparked angry reaction from some lawmakers, who accused higher education officials of being tone-deaf to Utah’s, and the nation’s, fragile economic climate, and the fact that many university and college employees have not seen raises in many years.
Regents Chairman David Jordan defended the move, saying in order for Utah to recruit the best and most talented college leaders, the state needs to be competitive.
Shortly after the vote on Monday, Jordan told the Deseret News that he knows that Utah’s current presidents have been contacted by by recruiters from several out-of-state institutions. “We do hear from presidents, not infrequently, about the contacts they receive from head hunters from other institutions,” Jordan said. “We have presidents that could almost double their salaries tomorrow if they wanted to.”
Herbert has said he is supportive of a comprehensive salary study to show where Utah presidential salaries need to be.
Jordan said the current search for a new University of Utah president could be a “market test” on what kind of candidates Utah can attract. More…Posted by: psilberman