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Archive for Friday, October 19, 2007

Board of Regents boosts university CEOs salaries

Council of Presidents to determine if background checks are necessary

October 19, 2007

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— Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway received a 4 percent raise Thursday from the Kansas Board of Regents, bringing his total compensation to $332,051.

Of that, $260,660 comes from state funds, while the balance is made up of payments from funds generated by the KU Endowment Association through private gifts.

"The assessments we did with the CEOs were all exceptional," said regents chairwoman Christine Downey-Schmidt.

"If we had twice as much money, we'd offer that to you," she told the presidents.

Previously, Hemenway's state compensation was $250,319, with a total compensation cap of $319,280. Hemenway and Kansas State University President Jon Wefald are the only university leaders who make more than $300,000, with Wefald capped this year at $308,256.

Regent Bill Thornton, who is chairman of the committee that determined the raises for the chief executive officers of the six regents universities, said every CEO received a raise.

"We were fairly consistent in the size of the raises we gave," Thornton said. "We probably were a bit conservative because so many of us are new."

Five members of the Board of Regents have been appointed in the past six months. Downey-Schmidt said it was appropriate that all of the university presidents received raises because the regents were making their lives much more complicated.

"We're introducing these five strategic questions," she said. "We want their planning to fall under those areas."

Hemenway was grateful for the raise, but generally does not comment on his salary, a KU spokeswoman said.

Downey-Schmidt also noted it was important to keep the CEO salaries consistent with peer universities because "if one of these presidents leave, that's the price we'd have to pay to replace him."

In other business before the board Thursday, regents CEO Reginald Robinson directed the Council of Presidents to examine whether it would be appropriate for the six state universities to require background checks for newly hired faculty and staff.

Robinson said the directive was in response to newspaper stories - including one in Sunday's Journal-World - that discussed a policy change at Missouri where all non-student hires must undergo a background check. The Council of Presidents is made up of the CEOs of the six regents universities.

"I know it's complicated," Regent Gary Sherrer told the board, which will consider the issue in November. "But it would only take one serious incident to make it not as complicated as it seems."

Also, the regents heard about potential legislative issues for the upcoming session. In addition to seeking more money for deferred maintenance, KU said it hopes to seek permission to double the size of the School of Pharmacy.

Under the proposal, which regents will consider in November, KU would build a new research and teaching building for the school in Lawrence and create a satellite at KUMC-Wichita.

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