Although Kansas University has been without systemwide salary increases for faculty and staff since the 2008-09 fiscal year, 420 KU employees, including four deans, did receive pay increases for this academic year.
Tim Caboni, KU’s vice chancellor for public affairs, said the pay increases were for several reasons, including promotions and new job duties, increases to keep people from being recruited to other positions and addressing issues of salary equity based on the market.
KU officials said the 420 pay increases were separate from the planned merit-based pay increases for faculty and staff scheduled to be distributed in January.
The increases came throughout the university, including for faculty and classified and unclassified staff, he said. He said he didn’t know precisely how the pay raises were determined in each case and did not specify why the deans were given increases.
“It’s an individual-level decision,” Caboni said.
A specific job offer was not required in all cases. Jack Martin, a KU spokesman, said KU took pre-emptive action in cases “up and down the board” where salaries were out of line with the market value for the positions.
“Retention and retaining talent is going to be key to us doing what we aspire to do” in the future, Caboni said.
In at least one case where an increase was given, no specific job offer was ever discussed before the decision was made.
Mary Ellen Kondrat, dean of KU’s School of Social Welfare, received the largest pay increase among the deans, a $20,000, or 12 percent, increase from $165,000 to $185,000.
She said she never brought up other employers’ interest in her with her superiors, but she knew they were aware of the interest. While she said she didn’t know the specific reason given for her pay increase, she’s happy to remain at KU and wants to stay.
“I was the lowest paid dean,” she said, adding, “I certainly had options.”
Three other KU deans received salary increases:
• Rick Ginsberg, dean of the School of Education, received an 8.7 percent increase, from $184,000 to $200,000.
• Stuart Bell, dean of the School of Engineering, received a 3.8 percent increase, from $260,000 to $270,000.
• Lorraine Haricombe, dean of libraries, received a 3 percent increase, from $174,620 to $180,000.
Neeli Bendapudi, KU’s business dean, is the school’s highest paid dean on the Lawrence campus. She started this year at a salary of $350,000, which includes $60,000 in private funds.
Before this year, all of the KU deans on the Lawrence campus had been kept at the same salary level as the 2008-09 fiscal year. The only increases came when new people were hired to the position. Caboni said it was not just deans, however, who received increases. On his own staff, another company tried to recruit one of his employees. Caboni said that while the university couldn’t match the offer, he was able to offer the employee a raise, though it didn’t match the offer given by the outside employer.
Information on the deans’ salaries came to light after comparing their previous salaries with a new state salary database published this week by the Topeka Capital-Journal. KU officials expressed some concern about the database, including that it appeared to be inflating the salaries of most faculty members by taking their biweekly pay and multiplying it out over the entire year. However, many faculty members are paid on a nine-month salary instead of a 12-month salary.
The deans’ salaries, however, were reported accurately.