Archive for Tuesday, July 6, 2010

KU’s Chancellor collecting second-largest payout from North Carolina state pension fund

July 6, 2010


In addition to her Kansas University salary, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little receives $209,337 annually from a North Carolina pension plan.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported that Gray-Little receives the second-highest pension payment in North Carolina — one spot ahead of former University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith, who receives the third highest.

The top pension benefit goes to former mental health center administrator Charles R. Franklin Jr., who earns a $211,373 annual payment, the newspaper reported.

North Carolina state employees contribute 6 percent of their salary to a pension program, and in return receive compensation after they retire until death. Employers and state and local governments also contribute to the plan.

The benefits are calculated using a formula involving years of service and an employee’s highest average salary during a four-year period.

Gray-Little, 65, worked at UNC for 38 years, rising through the ranks, eventually becoming provost and executive vice chancellor. She was paid $350,000 annually in her last position.

Heather Franco, a North Carolina state treasurer spokeswoman, said out-of-state employment has no bearing on the pension.

As KU’s chancellor, Gray-Little’s annual salary is $425,000. Also, another $25,000 per year is placed in a deferred compensation fund payable upon completion of her tenure as chancellor.

She is also eligible for a retirement program through the Kansas Board of Regents, which includes an 8.5 percent government match on top of an employee’s 5.5 percent salary contribution. The matching funds are capped at a $245,000 salary level, said Madi Vannaman, who oversees the regents’ retirement plan.

And more funds may be headed Gray-Little’s way after she steps down as chancellor. Former KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway will receive his full $340,352 salary as chancellor for the second straight academic year in 2010-11 as part of an agreement with the regents. He remains on the KU faculty and just ended a yearlong sabbatical to write a book.

Kip Peterson, a regents spokesman, said such arrangements are determined on a case-by-case basis at the time of departure.

Gray-Little declined to comment on her pension.

Lynn Bretz, a KU spokeswoman, said it wasn’t unusual for top university administrators such as Gray-Little to be eligible to receive pensions from their former jobs, particularly among those who had worked in politics or in business.


kansasredlegs 7 years, 9 months ago

Does she rent or own here in Lawrence? Does she still own her residence in NC? If rents here and owns there, then KU just a money grab until she really retires. With a retirement plan like that, why the need to come to KU except to get another serving of cake.

Don't ever want to hear about people who work for the Gov'ment... Regular employees would kill for a salary like that .... People go to prison for PONZI schemes like that, well except, the Gov'ment can just print some more money... Pay just 5.5% per annum for a lifetime pension like that... sign me up

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 9 months ago

The University provides the Outlook as the official Chancellor's residence as part of her contract, redlegs. And some people take a job for the challenge and the opportunity to make a contribution. Her salary and benefits are what is required to recruit developed talent that has the skillset necessary to operate a D1 research university. That's what the market will bear. Nothing untoward happening here.

kansasredlegs 7 years, 9 months ago

Never said that there was anything untoward going on. I'll never be angry with the person getting what he or she can, I'm angry that it's taxpayer money funding this. If she goes out and gets $500m - $1b in research grants etc. then she's earned her keep, but if nothing appreciable comes KU's way, then it's been a waste of tax money.

What's troubling to me is not that she makes this kind of money and the perks in place for them, it's people like you who justify it by saying it's the industry standard and act like you can't get quality people if you pay them say, $300,000 per year without all the perks.

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 9 months ago

Really? Never angry with her for getting what she can? Because "KU [is] just a money grab until she really retires," "getting another serving of cake," "people go to prison for PONZI schemes like that," "the Gov'ment can just print some more money," and "just 5.5% per annum for a lifetime pension like that" is pretty angry-sounding rhetoric, redlegs.

I'm the problem here? I wonder where you get your idea that KU could attract a similarly-qualified candidate for $300K and no benefits?

I really don't think "people like me" are what's troubling you. I doubt you stay awake at night wondering "How can TOL and people like him actually believe that salary and benefits package is market-balanced?"

kansasredlegs 7 years, 9 months ago

Name one thing that she has done which has resulted in positive cash flow for the university to justify the salary. If not appreciable, then the salary is to much since anyone making $300k & no perks could do that.

hbjayhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

She deserves even more. She is a great leader.

huskerpower 7 years, 9 months ago

"North Carolina state employees contribute 6 percent of their salary to a pension program, and in return receive compensation after they retire until death."


Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 9 months ago

And? Looks like she fairly contributed as part of an overall benefit package...

State and local governments in North Carolina use pensions as a recruiting tool, sometimes to overcome salaries that don't compete with private jobs. Employees contribute 6 percent of their pay, and the government matches with a percentage that fluctuates depending on the employee's department, investment returns and the condition of the state budget.

Employees are then rewarded until death with guaranteed annual payments of a percentage of their four highest earning consecutive years. An employee with 30 years' service can receive roughly 55 percent of that highest salary average. Judicial employees and state lawmakers can receive as much as 75 percent of their highest salary average.

KU_cynic 7 years, 9 months ago

Gray-Little, aged 65, is making her last career stop at KU. Now it seems that in addition to being immune from future career prospects that would be enhanced by her performance at KU, she is also insulated economically due to her pension income from UNC.

This liberates her to make tough decisions that are needed at KU without worrying whose toes she steps on. It also means that there is little financial or career-related downside for her if KU continues to meander toward mediocrity during her tenure.

Good or bad for KU? I guess we'll see.

All the same, I would have preferred a younger, less economically secure chancellor who would have done the best job possible at KU in order to enhance his/her career and economic security, rather than an end-of-the-liner.

verity 7 years, 9 months ago

In case you hadn't noticed, Chancellor Gray-Little is a woman and she's black. She worked her way up through the ranks in South Carolina. My guess is she had to be ten times as good at everything she did than the white guys. She could have coasted into a nice, comfortable retirement, but she chose to start a new career. I can't imagine she is capable of doing anything but giving it her best.

And how do you know that this is her last career stop?

overthemoon 7 years, 9 months ago

north carolina. only a little bit less backward and bigoted than their southern cousin.

KU_cynic 7 years, 9 months ago

What -- she's a black woman? Really, I had no idea.

Her last stop? Well, if she sees KU through a 5-7 year one billion dollar capital campaign as expected she'll be in her early 70s when she will have accomplished her mission at KU. Not impossible that another institution would hire a 70 year old leader, but it's unlikely.

I wish her well. With new Provost Vitter on board now, it's time to start shaking things up, to step on some toes, and make the tough decisions that have been delayed for so long. KU doesn't need another year of business as usual.

budwhysir 7 years, 9 months ago

and the moral to this story??? No child left behind right??? Why do I care how much this person is being paid if it comes from another state????

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 9 months ago

The President of the University of Missouri is Gary Forsee.

From his previous job, Foresee's severance package added up to over $40 million, including a $1.5 million salary through 2009, $5 million in bonuses, stock options and restricted shares worth $23 million and an $84,000-a-month pension for life.

That's over $1 million per year.

Matt Torres 7 years, 9 months ago

It's good to know how much she is making but...honestly, it doesn't sound like anything untoward is going on here. Hell even Social Security doesn't care if you work after you retire. The idea in general with SS/pensions is if you pay into them at a certain level for a certain amount of time, you are allowed to receive a certain quantity. Hers is a lot. Just being upset because you think she makes "too much" is just whiny. What do I know about her work and how hard it is?

50YearResident 7 years, 9 months ago

Social Security does care if you work after retirement, and they take back or suspend payments when you are still working and recieving a salary.

RogueThrill 7 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, all those octogenarians greating me at Wal-Mart forsook their SS because they could be making the big bucks putting stickers on the crap gifts I want to return.

emptymind 7 years, 9 months ago

Im on SS and I can make up to 1,000.00 a month

Matt Torres 7 years, 9 months ago

Nope, sorry. SS doesn't care if you work after you retire at 65. Just 4 months ago I was in the SS office interpreting for a 66-year-old woman who was about to retire from a job. She specifically asked if she could work even while receiving benefits and they said it was fine.

I believe the idea with a pension in general (and SS) is that if you've paid into at a high enough rate for long enough, you've "earned" your benefits already.

jhawks360 7 years, 9 months ago

She contributed to a pension fund for 38 years and is now reaping the benefits. She saved for her retirement... good for her.

Now, maybe the LJWorld can write about something she's actually doing as Chancellor instead of these indirect slams at her integrity.

Matt Torres 7 years, 9 months ago

What does that have to do with anything?

Phillbert 7 years, 9 months ago

This wouldn't even be a story if, rather than paying into a pension fund for 38 years, Gray-Little had done what most black women growing up in the Jim Crow South did, which is inherit a newspaper from her father.

Oh, wait...

RogueThrill 7 years, 9 months ago

Oh man that stings. If I had inherited a newspaper I would be so pissed at you right now.

jhawks360 7 years, 9 months ago

HAHAHAHAHA! That's the funniest thing I've read all day. Kudos, Phillbert.

yankeevet 7 years, 9 months ago

military pension does not even compare or come close to her pension.........

KEITHMILES05 7 years, 9 months ago

There is no hate and no story. Once again LJWorld.Com has written a weak and flimsy piece while ignoring the true issues of the state and country. This is normal for a small town wannabe paper. Its obsession with KU is beyond weird.

Alison Carter 7 years, 9 months ago

This front page "unfinished" article is just fuel for factual gossip.... very thoughtless and unconstructive journalism.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 9 months ago

You could almost put a sinister label on this story; look, she's a 'have' and YOU are a 'have-not'!

Read this story and imagine what she can afford that you cannot...

People like this can easily pay for your medical insurance!!

Doesn't "share the wealth' sound good now? Is socialism really all that bad?

(evil laugh)

webmocker 7 years, 9 months ago

If this is news, then... What is Andy Hyland's salary and benefits package? What is Dolph Simons' salary and benefits package? Perhaps they should make available the salaries and benefits of everyone in the LJWorld/Sunflower conglomerate.

anitliars 7 years, 9 months ago

Here here! Why is it that the very people who love to find out and publish information about everyone else are the LEAST likely to disclose information about themselves? Double standards abound. This is not news. Nor is it particularly interesting. Anyone who wants to know what a public official or employee makes in salary and benefits can do an open records request. It is simple and easy.

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 9 months ago

Chancellor Gray-Little is a public employee whose salary and benefits are public information under the Kansas Open Records Act.

The employees of the Lawrence Journal World and Sunflower Broadband work for a private employer whose salaries and benefits are not public information, and are in-your-face none-of-your-business. Their compensation packages are between them. You can ask for the information until you're blue in the face, but there is no expectation that you are entitled to know this information.

remember_username 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't see how it is anybodies business what NC is paying her during her retirement. So whats the big deal? Can you say slow news day?

Joel Hood 7 years, 9 months ago

Why is this story on the front page of the online LJW? There are many State of Kansas employees who are currently dipping into retirement while still working for the state. So what if her annual income is in the six-figure range!! Is her income out of line for a comparable position in the private sector for someone of her age and experience??

Seriously, Dolph "Capt. Ahab" Jr. needs to point his harpoon on some other targets once in a while... or at least put this gripe in his predictable Saturday anti-KU diatribe.

jhawks360 7 years, 9 months ago

Front page news? Really? And nice photo, too... it makes her look guilty of something.

This is just another example of the LJWorld's weird obsession with pointlessly bashing KU administrators.

Liberty275 7 years, 9 months ago

Good for her. It's nice to be the only person here happy she is making really great money for her proven ability without being a hypocrite.

And to the kind person that let us know she is a black woman, thank you very much. The picture might have been a little misleading. LOL.

ldawg 7 years, 9 months ago

I agree, what's the big deal. Hey Dolf, it's a slow news day, What say ye? "Uhhh let's stir up the mudd. Go find some dirt on the Chancellor"

I suggest we quit complaining, look inward, and learn from someone who is very successful.

sleepy33 7 years, 9 months ago

The only way this should even be a story is if you focus on the overly-inflated salaries of all the University bigwigs. Focusing on this woman's pension earnings is entirely the wrong angle.

jmadison 7 years, 9 months ago

The Chancellor is merely receiving what she deserves per her contract with the government of North Carolina. What boggles the mind is the matching of the government to the employees salary. Its little wonder that this sort of a lucrative contract is the cause for fiscal problems in state governments across the country. California has a number of retirees from their state government that are receiving in excess of $100,000. The taxpayers of the US will in the end pony up the necessary funds through taxes, to support these lavish retirement benefits. Illinois is another state that is not paying its bills. I don't blame the employees, but rather our political class that made these outrageous deals through the past 20-30 years. San Diego is another prime example of the city being underwater due to bad bargaining by the politicos with the public sector unions. I imagine most of the poor schmoes that work and pay taxes have no chance to receive anywhere near the benefits the state and local governments pay out. The political elite wonder why the average citizen resents government so much, well, the lavishness of public pensions is one of the major reasons.

flux 7 years, 9 months ago

Sounds like she's pretty smart. Nothing wrong with making the big bucks if you can do it legally

somedude20 7 years, 9 months ago

Let me say that if I was raking in $659,337 a year, I would not have that sourpuss facial expression like how Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little does in the above pic

workinghard 7 years, 9 months ago

Beat me too it, I was going to say, you would think she would be smiling :)

artlover 7 years, 9 months ago

Not to worry Obama will try to take most of it and share the wealth....38 years at 1 dare she work hard and earn well when so many others have their hands out...

lionheart72661 7 years, 9 months ago

So if she and others in her position earn so much money it's no wonder the professors and staff are so underpaid and tuition keeps going up. I'm sure she is smiling all the way to the bank.

Cynthia Schott 7 years, 9 months ago

She more than deserves it. Think of the pit of sharks she's found herself in.

onceinawhile 7 years, 9 months ago

I find it tacky that LJ has posted this has the lead story on the website. "North Carolina state employees contribute 6 percent of their salary to a pension program, and in return receive compensation after they retire until death." So, what's the big news? It's not like she did anything wrong, although the photo insinuates that she's guilty of something.

puddleglum 7 years, 9 months ago

The more money she bilks from North Carolina, the better!

anagram 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't understand why LJW made this a front-page story. Or an any-page story for that matter. Are they hate-baiting? CNN does that all the time and it's really annoying. Just stirring the pot to cause trouble. More power to Prof. G-L. I hope she gets a raise next year! She should be praised for all the important works she's done to get her to the pinnacle of her profession despite all the cultural road-blocks thrown in her way.

SeaBee 7 years, 9 months ago

Good for her! Sounds a lot like KPERS - hope its better funded though.

No story here - Move On.

pace 7 years, 9 months ago

Not my business. No hanky panky, just rude journalism.

Tom McCune 7 years, 9 months ago

LJW: Dog bites man is not news. If you can find a "man bites dog" story buried somewhere in here, then please get back to us.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 9 months ago

Mz. Gray-Little, would you mind fixing up our library? Some of us aren't really in a spot for extra property taxes, and you'd hardly miss it.

I'm not saying we should force you, or even pressure'd just be an outstanding public relations move!

Just think about it...

artlover 7 years, 9 months ago

Send me your money Send it, you got to send it Send me your money You hear what I'm saying? Send it, send it Send me your money How much you give is your own choice But to me it is the difference between a Porsche and a Rolls Royce I want you to make it hurt when you dig into your pocket Cause it makes me feel so good to watch my profits rocket Send me your money

somedude20 7 years, 9 months ago

Suicidal, great song Now if you can only send a dollar or two There ain't a hell of a lot I can promise to you But if you want to see heaven's door Make out a check for five hundred or more

Paul R Getto 7 years, 9 months ago

She is doing well so far; the usual vultures seem to be out on this blog. I've only learned a couple of things posting and reading for 10-12 years. Many posters seem to believe: 1. Everyone is overpaid except for the person making the anonymous comment. 2. Anonymous posters seem confident they can do nearly every job perfectly except, of course, for the position they currently hold.

bd2 7 years, 9 months ago why IS this considered "news"?? She worked many years for UNC and in positions with much responsibility! Do you think a chancellor or assistant chancellor at a major university has more or less responsibility (i.e., to the university, the students, the faculty, the staff) than say the basketball coach? Hummm...yes. How much MORE money does the basketball coach make?

Jim Williamson 7 years, 9 months ago

Waste of ink, fellas. Acknowledge. Move on.

budwhysir 7 years, 9 months ago

This is news because like all news, it is packed with drama. I would say that if you want a job in the public eye, you need a good background story, you need to be able to brag a little. Why not make sure this story gets out so everyone will know how loud your horn is. Give it a little toot every once and a while.....

pace 7 years, 9 months ago

Speaking of news, what is Dolph's salary, his projected retirement and what investments does he hold? As long as we are asking does he still beat his mule?

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