By Robert D. Warner
December 09, 2006
Dear Viewpoints Editor:
Here we go again! The University of Alaska Board of Regents has granted the UA President a $300,000 annual salary along with a three year contract extension. This is a $35,000 per year increase. In addition to this outrageous salary, the president will receive a $210,000 bonus if he stays until 2009 plus a generous housing allowance, etc. These actions come at a time when Regents approve major fee and tuition increases for students and continue to beg the Governor and Legislature for more and more funds. Is this taxpayer ripoff ever going to end?
One can speculate that labor organizations representing employees who actually provide services at the University will take note of this hefty increase. They should!
Leadership to contain costs and executive salary inflation should start at the top. For example, the Superintendent of the Anchorage School District recently refused a $4,000 cost of living increase because of tight budget conditions. We see no such leadership from the University President.
It is clear to this writer that the Board of Regents and the University administration need to become far more accountable to the public, Legislature, and Governor. Perhaps the following could help address this serious lack of accountability:
1. Annual salaries of ALL state officials, including University of Alaska administrators, who are not covered by collective bargaining agreements shall be capped at a level at least $10 below the annual salary of the Governor. The current annual salary of Governor Palin is $125,000.
2. Names, positions, and salaries of all University of Alaska officials currently earning more than the $125,000 salary of the Governor should be compiled and published in major state newspapers as public information.
3. Before University Regents routinely renew executive contracts, they should advertise positions to determine if highly qualified individuals would apply for the positions and be willing to work for less money. This would be similar to "contracting out" for goods and services. Who knows? Perhaps a recently retired executive from private industry would be willing to take the position of University President for $1 per year plus the housing allowance.
4. Serious consideration should be given to electing Regents in ways similar to electing school boards. Perhaps the state could be divided into regions for Regent elections. At a minimum, Regent's terms should be reduced to 4 or 6 years maximum.
It's time for the Board of Regents to stop this nonsense and start showing leadership in containing costs. Both students and the taxpaying public deserve a much better return for their "investments" in the University of Alaska.
Robert D. Warner
About: "36 year resident of Ketchikan and retired UAS faculty."
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