Topeka — State university chiefs, including Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway, will receive higher pay raises than most state employees.
The Kansas Board of Regents on Thursday approved a 5.75 percent raise for each of the public university leaders and Kim Wilcox, executive director of the board.
For Hemenway, the increase amounts to an $11,931 salary bump from $207,489 to $219,420 annually. With the increase, Hemenway maintains his top rank in pay among the state's public university chiefs.
Most state employees will receive a 1.5 percent raise starting Monday and another 1.5 percent increase in January under the appropriation bill recently adopted by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Bill Graves.
State corrections officers and Highway Patrol troopers will receive an 8 percent increase, and college faculty, an average 6.2 percent salary increase.
Regents members said they used the faculty increases as a guide when awarding raises to Hemenway and the other university presidents.
They said they wished they could have given more to the university leaders but were limited by tight budgets.
"The Kansas constituents of higher education are very fortunate to have these people," said Fred Kerr of Pratt, who chaired the process of evaluating Hemenway and the others.
Hemenway said he appreciated the boost.
"All the presidents and the chancellor ... appreciate the board's support and will work hard to live up to the confidence that has been shown," he said.
Last year, Hemenway received a 2.5 percent pay raise. In 1999, he received a 10.9 percent pay raise when the top university executives received a range of increases from 8 percent to 16 percent.
That 1999 increase was blasted by several lawmakers as excessive and as sending a bad signal because the regents approved it the same day they raised student tuition.
Under the pay raises adopted Thursday, Jon Wefald, president of Kansas State, will make $208,820; Don Beggs, president of Wichita State, $183,652; Ed Hammond, president of Fort Hays State, $158,270; Kay Shallenkamp, president of Emporia State, $147,639; Tom Bryant, president of Pittsburg State, $145,270; and Wilcox, $136,814.
The regents also unanimously voted to keep Clay Blair of Mission Hills as chairman of the board and Jack Wempe of Little River as vice chairman.
Regents members said it was necessary to maintain the same leadership team because of a host of initiatives started this past year that will require additional work in the coming fiscal year, which starts Monday.
The regents also said they would like to change Wilcox's title from executive director of the board to president and chief executive officer of the Kansas higher education system. Several regents said the change in title better reflected Wilcox's position.
The regents will consider the title change in a conference call meeting next month.