Kansas University officials felt the executive vice chancellor for external affairs merited a $202,000 salary until Friday when they announced the position held by Paul Carttar would be deleted altogether.
Carttar, who had held the post since 2004, was reassigned as special assistant to the chancellor as part of a reorganization effective July 15.
Carttar will collect the same salary, but his new position is short-term, KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said.
"The term of the appointment is for one year," Hemenway said. "He can stay in the position for a year or less than that if he decides that he's going to seek other employment ... (Paul) would be the first to tell you that the university is not in a position where it can afford to pay a special assistant $200,000 a year."
Carttar said he will remain in the position as long as he and the chancellor are satisfied he is adding value to KU.
"How long that ends up being, I'm not sure it would be fruitful to speculate," he said.
The personnel changes also include the promotion of Lynn Bretz from director of university relations to director of university communications.
Bretz will take over the bulk of the areas previously managed by Carttar, including university relations, special events, marketing, Kansas Public Radio and Kansas Audio-Reader Network.
She is paid $88,600 per year. The amount of her raise has not been set, Hemenway said.
"Lynn will be receiving a salary increase," Hemenway said. "We've simply not nailed down what it would be. I'll get it established at the beginning of next week."
KU hired Carttar for the post in 2004. He filled a role previously held by Janet Murguia, who left KU and took the top post at the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group.
Carttar, a KU graduate, came to work at KU after serving as chief operating officer at Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Mo., for about a year. When he left the foundation, he said his departure was a mutual decision and the position, created upon his arrival at the foundation, was no longer necessary.
Carttar said he is proud of the work he's done at KU consolidating government relations efforts and creating a universitywide marketing plan and annual planning process.
He said he also considers implementation of a visual identity system with logo and school colors to be a feather in his cap, though some have criticized the expense of a process that included devising a new logo, only to find it was markedly similar to one used by the small Pennsylvania school Kutztown University.
One critic is Grant Goodman, a professor emeritus of history, who called Carttar's position the "vice chancellor of logos."
"My interest is in the excessive administrative structure of the university," Goodman said. "This vice chancellor of logos ... seemed to fall into that category."
The personnel change means elimination of one of KU's top four executive positions.
Hemenway said it's time to move forward with a new executive structure. And KU officials described the changes as a move toward efficiency, though in the short term there will be no cut in personnel costs.
Carttar oversaw KU's government affairs arm. Keith Yehle, KU director of government relations, will now report directly to the chancellor. Kathy Damron, KU's liaison with the Legislature, will continue in her role.
Bretz said the move eliminates a level of bureaucracy and streamlines the administrative structure.
Carttar said the university is at a new stage in which the position is no longer necessary.
"I think it's a trap to assume that the elimination of a job somehow means the job didn't make sense or it failed," he said. "It could mean the exact opposite."