New head of M.U. system criticized over pay

Saturday, November 23, 2002

The university president will get nearly half a million dollars, reports show.

By Scott Charton ~ The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- There was bipartisan legislative criticism Friday of pay and perks for the University of Missouri's new president, as The Associated Press calculated that Elson S. Floyd's annual taxpayer-funded compensation could be worth half a million dollars.

"It's too much and it's the wrong message" during tough economic times, said Senate Democratic leader Ken Jacob, D-Columbia, whose district includes the university's headquarters and its flagship campus.

Rep. Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, who will be House speaker pro tem in the next Legislature, said Floyd's compensation "makes me think we need to give the entire university budget a hard look. If they can afford to pay him that, maybe things aren't as bad as they say they are."

The president of the university's governing board defended Floyd's compensation. In a statement Friday, John Mathes, president of the Board of Curators, said "such leaders do not grow on trees ... the university had to pay what the market demands."

Floyd, 46, was hired Nov. 13 to succeed Manuel Pacheco, who is retiring as president of the four-campus University of Missouri system. Floyd has spent the past four years as president of Western Michigan University and has a two-decade resume in higher education administration.

The new president's base salary will be $350,000 -- about 35 percent more than Pacheco is making after five years on the job. Another $50,000 annually will be set aside for Floyd to claim in a $250,000 lump sum upon completing five years as president.

Also, Floyd is to receive $105,000 as a bonus for starting work in January and another $40,000 to offset his loss of deferred compensation for leaving Western Michigan before his contract ended.

The contract reimburses Floyd up to 10 percent of his annual salary for moving expenses, or up to $35,000; the university said this is the standard moving expense reimbursement policy for new employees.

If Floyd collects all of these amounts, his total cash compensation after five years would total at least $2,180,000, the AP calculated.

Annualized over five years, Floyd's cash compensation would run about $436,000 -- not counting perks or possible pay raises.

Adding perks, including free housing and transportation, the AP calculated Floyd's deal is worth about $497,000 a year -- all funded by tax dollars.

In response to questions from the AP, the university attached cash values to perks in Floyd's contract or provided numbers allowing the AP to calculate a cash value:

  • Free housing, utilities, redecoration and maintenance at Providence Point, the four-bedroom, 12,630-square-foot presidential residence near the old and new basketball arenas on the Columbia campus. The house, a setting for receptions and special events, has an above-ground swimming pool, a sauna and a full-time maid earning $10 an hour. An appraisal arranged by the university in May estimated it would cost $1,950 a month, or $23,400 a year, to lease similar residential quarters. The maid would cost $20,800 a year, not counting fringe benefits or overtime, while utilities for the all-electric residence ran $8,000 last year. Based on these numbers, the housing is worth at least $60,882 a year.

  • A free vehicle and its operating costs including fuel, available "for all purposes deemed appropriate by the President." Pacheco drives a 2001 Buick Park Avenue, purchased for $22,161 with trade-in from Albert Buick in Columbia. The president receives a new car every three years or every 60,000 miles, so the AP divided the purchase price of Pacheco's car by three, annualizing its value at $7,387. Pacheco's operating expenses in the last budget year were $1,295. Annual value of transportation: $8,682.

    Floyd was hired as the university copes with sharply reduced state funding.

    In the last budget year, the university was to have received $443 million, but that fell to $377 million as Gov. Bob Holden withheld funds to balance the budget. This year's appropriation from the state is $399 million, but that may be reduced.

    Holden said Friday while he was "surprised" about the amount of Floyd's compensation, he expects Floyd "to do an outstanding job as president of the University of Missouri system."

    The governor added that with "the amount of revenue he's going to attract from the private sector and the leadership he's going to bring to the university, I think we'll be very satisfied."

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