by Max Brantley
News first: You'll eventually find below aother striking piece of information about the extraordinary compensation awarded UCA President Lu Hardin.
But I'll begin at the beginning.
The Times this week has a lengthy, but still abbreviated report on the pay of public college presidents and chancellors. Now comes the result of Higher Education Department research for legislators with a fuller accounting of pay and perks for the top Arkansas academic administrators for fiscal 2009. (None of them comes close to Bobby Petrino's seven-figure take to coach UA football, thank goodness.)
A memo accompanying the spread sheet on pay said no college official was found to be receiving pay greater than 25 percent more than line-item maximums from public funds. Many are receiving "private" supplements, generally from foundations related to the institution each leads.
Dr. Les Wyatt, president of the Arkansas State U. system, is the most highly compensated, at $540,610, just ahead of $538,722 for Dr. Alan Sugg, head of the UA system. Low man on the totem pole is UA-Monticello's Chancellor Jackson Lassiter at $219,024. UALR's chancellor, Joel Anderson, is at $275,473.
And, oh my lordy, here's another round of publicity for poor ol' LuCA.
Though he gave up his $300,000 early deferred comp payout and the Board suspended discussion of an additional $150,000-a-year deferred comp add-on, President Lu Hardin still ranks high in the collegiate stratosphere. Total compensation: $510,667. The breakdown: Pay, $253,774; car, $11,651; house, $27,196; cook, lawn service, building maintenance, utilities, etc., $55,252; deferred comp, $60,000 (this is the figure accruing annually under a deal approved by the Board three years ago); retirement match, $25,377; health insurance, $5,135; life insurance, $1,112; club dues, $11,277; cell phone, $2,893;
AND, ta da, a new and previously unreported perk of fairly sizable significance:
A $57,000 -- FIFTY-SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS -- expense account funded by the UCA Foundation. As we've noted previously, the foundation has been guided by a UCA employee and realizes some of its income from renting space to UCA.
I have questions pending about why Hardin's housing staff expense is computed at a much higher level than others and why he has such a large expense account, plus whether there's a public accounting available. (UPDATED ON JUMP)
Of the 13 university level administrators, only two others have expense accounts -- Robert C. Brown at Arkansas Tech gets $5,188 and Dr. David Rankin at Southern Arkansas University gets $25,000 (?!).
The two-year college bosses generally run from $170,000 to $200,000, with a couple of exceptions. Dr. Glenn Fenter at Mid-South Community College had total compensation of more than $238,000 and Becky Paneitz-Danks, chief of Northwest Arkansas Community College notched a bracket-busting $263,257.
Noted: the survey differs from ours in many ways chiefly because it ascribes a cost to such things as free housing and adds that into the total compensation package, though the expenses -- such as staff -- may be related to fulfilling public functions. These include dinners at presidents' housing and the like.
Thus, the UAF chancellor's total compensation is about $363,000 -- with $282,540 in base pay (including about $54,000 from private funds); $6,600 for a car; $31,000 for the free house; $9,200 for maid and lawn service; $23,000 in retirement match; more than $4,000 for club dues, etc.
Here's the spread sheet on colleges.
Here's the spread sheet on universities.
Read them and weep, or cheer, as you are so inclined.
Higher Ed is at work compiling figures from the two preceding years as well.
Paul McLendon at UCA provided some answers to questions I posed late in the afternoon about some of the Hardin expense figures:
Relatively speaking, the cost given for presidential housing is substantially higher than that at other schools in the category for staffing, utilities, etc. Any idea why that is?
The $55,252 includes all utilities for the complete house, cleaning staff and maintenance items, the house was built in 1935. The full salary and benefits of the maid was included and utilities on the house are rather high partly due to the age of the house and the amount of entertainment that occurs in the house. The house is used by many different groups across campus and even around Conway.
The expense account paid by the UCA Foundation was a new wrinkle for me. Is that an item approved initially by the Board by way a request for funding from the Foundation?
This is an account that the president can use to entertain guests/donors of the university, send flowers etc. from the UCA foundation, since there was not a breakdown from the UCA Foundation we included the total expenses paid from the fund regardless of who received benefits. This funds are completely from foundation sources, donors etc.
Why is the figure so large? (Only two other college administrators report expense accounts, both much smaller.)
They may have only included the funds used by the president where the expense was only a personal benefit to the president
I'd like to see an accounting of that expense account. Is one supplied to or by the university? Since the Foundation is supported in part by public money, I presume its records are open. Can you provide an accounting?
I will have to defer to the UCA foundation on this question. I do not have any access to that information.