Friday, November 21, 2008

Star Trib Piece on U President's Pay

University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks has boldly called for a salary freeze for the top 40 employees at the U (including himself). It's going to save a whopping $500,000 a year in a school with a biennial budget of $1.5 Billion. Let's give this man a pat on the back.

Meanwhile, he's ranks #7 on the list of best-compensated University Presidents in the country (Public institutions) bringing in $733,421.

The University is a fine school, but it certainly isn't a top 10 public University. Top 25. U.S. News and World Report just ranked it #22. So why Top 10 pay? Well this is Minnesota, Minnesotans are proud of spending a lot of money on education- regardless of results. And is it damn cold here, so you may need to pay a bit more to attract top candidates- but Bruininks has been here since 1968. He likes it here. It is a huge University- but you have Provosts doing the job at the other campuses. I give. I don't know.

One interesting item from the Strib piece:

Over five years, public presidents' median compensation climbed 36 percent, while private presidents' rose 19 percent.

There was another recent piece from ABC news on College Presidents' Pay:

Fifty-nine presidents of public universities reeled in more than $500,000 in salary and benefits during the 2007-08 academic year, more than double the number who broke the half-million mark three years earlier, according to a survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education released on Monday.

So the government workers are once again fairing much better than the private-sector ones.

My favorite part about government employees is the idea that there should never be pay cuts. When I worked in sales, it was always on commission and the better you did the harder they'd make your compensation plan. If you were stellar two years in a row, it was still quite possible that you'd make less one year vs. the other. Public employees just sit back and wait for their 3.5% or 5% or 6% compensation increases every year. They expect it for the job title. They make up their own vague benchmarks for success and then tie part of their pay to those goals- amazingly they always seem to achieve them.

I'd love to throw some of these folks outside the world of taxpayer-funded compensation and see how they'd do.

Give me $125,000 a year and I'll do Bob Bruinkink's job-- and I promise tuition wouldn't be $10,000 a year either. No way.


Mary said...

Great post.

I don't know ANYBODY in the public sector who should be making that much money. Think about it: he makes more than the President. Way more. And what does he really do?

He makes, what, almost five times that of a four star general. For what? Sucking more money out of the taxpayers for new buildings?

Well, apparently his job doesn't include keeping tuition costs in check. What metrics is he measured against? Who is he accountable to?

P.S. It is so peaceful here since the libs left. It's like a spa.

Jim said...

To be fair, he'd probably argue that the U of MN has one of the top 5 largest student bodies in the country.

I do agree that he's overpaid, however. Plus, he gets a nice river-side mansion to live in, and I think he gets a staff to maintain the house. Probably cooks, too.

Eastcliff Mansion on wikipedia
Pics of fancy interior
Google maps view from street and above with pool, etc.

Heh, and speaking of cars and the auto industry, I think Bruininks used to drive a GMC Envoy (some mid-sized GM SUV) but he traded that for a hybrid Camry to be "green."

Sheila said...

Yes- I've been to Eastcliff- there is staff-
it's a large University, but they've dramatically reduced the size of undergraduates-