"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Paying Top Dollar for Former Bureaucrats at MSU

As long as we're looking at the Federal government spending too much, let's also look at the publicly funded Missouri University system who has been paying top dollar for former administrative staff who return to teaching within the university. A committee on post-administrative appointments will examine the appropriate change in compensation, work assignments, expected productivity, and course release and severance packages, wrote interim president Clif Smart in an open message to the campus last week.

This practice of adminstrators staying within the university system has led to discrepancies in teacher salaries. For instance, Provost Belinda McCarthy stepped down to join the faculty at an annual salary of $174,778, or nine-elevenths of her provost pay per a university policy.Former President Mike Nietzel also retreated to the faculty at an annual salary of $160,000, or 60 percent of his presidential pay per his contract. James Cofer, who gave up his presidency after 11 months, will become a faculty member at the College of Business Administration at a salary of $165,000. All three top administrators are taking large cuts in salary in order to get back into the classroom.

But their sacrifice is diminished when you consider that the average MSU professor makes just $75,420 a year. This has caused grumbling among staff for a number of years. It might have caused grumbling among the public had the practice been more widely known. The salary disparity is not the only reason to question this practice.

In medicine, the chief of a particular specialty is typically not the best person to go to for your surgery. They have risen in the ranks because of their ability to administrate, not because of their specific medical expertise. It is not too far a stretch to consider that administrators in the school system have risen to their posts not because they are experts in a particular field or because they are excellent teachers. They have proven adept at managing people and budgets. Therefore, their previous salary history as an administrator should not used as a base to determine their teaching salary.

The State University has formed a six-member committee to examine university policies regarding administrators who leave the positions but stay with the university to teach. The committee is expected to provide a report to the Faculty Senate and the university administration by Oct. 1st.

For more information, go to the News Leader

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