More on bonus for UA's Gearhart | Arkansas Blog

More on bonus for UA's Gearhart

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I see the Democrat-Gazette caught up this morning on news I reported Monday -- that the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees voted a $225,000 annual deferred compensation payment to UA Chancellor G. David Gearhart at its meeting last Friday. (UA officials did not volunteer to me Monday that the payment was ongoing; my mistake for not inquiring. His total annual package is now worth $525,000 or more, depending on how you value campus housing.)

I also talked yesterday with Board chair John Ed Anthony about the Gearhart bonus. I've written about that conversation for the print edition, which will be on-line later today. But he confirmed several things I'd been told about the discussions of making Gearhart president of the UA System when B. Alan Sugg retires next year. In short: the deal faltered because 1) several trustees, though supportive of Gearhart's selection, thought there should be an open application process first and 2) Gearhart desired to be both president and, for an unspecified period, chancellor at Fayetteville. The latter was a prospect sufficiently unsettling to other campuses that Gearhart ultimately said he wouldn't be seeking the job. Anthony, and others, sang Gearhart's praises. Anthony said he hoped Gearhart might have a future opportunity to seek the presidency.

PS -- A reader wonders about the independence of the so-called private UA Foundation, source of the salary enhancement, if the Board of Trustees can order up annual pay supplements to employees from it. It and the Razorback Foundation have taken steps to lodge themselves independently and hire their own staff, but the independence of each can be judged by actions such as these and the correlation between Razorback Foundation giving and seat assignments managed by public employees of the university.

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