University Administrators are Incompetent

April/08/2017 10:05AM
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A 2015 report by the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus said the number of administrative jobs on college campuses in Illinois grew by nearly 33 percent between 2004 and 2010, while enrollment only grew three percent during the same time period.

It’s free money since the students just get higher student loans, or the parents  pay more. The state keeps putting more funding in the budget to handle this egregious injustice and abuse of responsibility. See, this is what you get when you promote educators to management level jobs. It’s like having a community organizer try to run the biggest business in the world. There is no accountability for fiscal responsibility.

 

Report: Illinois college chiefs living in ‘fantasy world of lavish perks’

Legislators: Illinois college and university presidents enjoy lavish perks while students face rising tuition.

Illinois community college and university presidents are enjoying a “fantasy world of lavish perks” — including housing allowances, cars, club memberships and generous bonuses — as part of sometimes secret deals that show disregard for taxpayers, according to a new report from state legislators.

The perks include a $32,000 housing allowance for the president of Harper College, a $450,000 retention bonus for a former University of Illinois at Chicago chancellor and $30,000 toward two retirement plans in addition to state pension contributions for the Elgin Community College president.

Lawmakers want to rein in those benefits amid a state budget crisis and public outcry over tuition costs. A Senate panel that investigated the issue plans to recommend several reforms, including state-run audits of community colleges and restriction of severance pay to one year’s salary, according to a copy of the report obtained by the Tribune.

The legislators’ findings come after months of controversy at the College of DuPage, where President Robert Breuder, currently on administrative leave, has been under fire for excessive spending and recently received one of the largest severance packages for a public employee in state history.

“This has led to a culture of arrogance and a sense of entitlement reflected in many of these executive compensation plans, with an apparent disregard for middle-class families whose taxes and tuition dollars are funding these exorbitant salaries and excessive fringe benefits,” according to the report, which the Senate Democratic caucus plans to release Friday.

Sandburg spokeswoman Robin DeMott said Sundberg receives the vehicle stipend because the college district encompasses more than 3,000 square miles and includes three campuses. A South Suburban spokesman could not be reached.

In Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College provides President Charlotte Warren with memberships at the Sangamo Club and Illini Country Club, while Kankakee Community College pays for its president’s country club membership. The College of DuPage footed the bill for Breuder’s membership to the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, an exclusive hunting and fishing retreat in far northwest suburban Dundee Township.

Colleges long have defended the benefits as a way to attract — and keep — talented administrators. They also maintain that club memberships provide administrators with a place to meet and entertain donors and other community members.

“Higher education students in the state of Illinois are suffering under outrageously large debt loads, all in search of the American dream: economic mobility, financial security, and leading a productive life,” the report states.

What’s more, many of these benefits have been awarded quietly and without input from taxpayers, lawmakers said, and some of the contracts are extended for many years, including at Heartland Community College in Normal, where the president’s contract currently goes until 2023. The report specifically criticizes the College of DuPage, which twice amended Breuder’s contract without placing the matter on a public agenda or noting it in the board minutes.

“Despite the state’s transparency laws, many of these agreements are done in secret, denying the public the right to weigh in on the appropriateness of such generous packages, while students suffocate under non-dischargeable debt,” the report says.

In response to the report, a special Senate panel intends to push several reforms, including state-run audits, limits on the length of contracts and severance package caps. It also will promote proposals that would require public universities and colleges to make all contracts — including bonuses, annuities and assorted perks — public for 30 days before they can be approved.

“In these tough financial times, there is no justification for some of these perks,” said Democratic state Sen. Bill Cunningham, who represents parts of Chicago and the suburbs and is chairman of a higher education subcommittee on executive compensation. “If a university president or a community college president has a compensation package in excess of $300,000, they should be able to afford their own country club membership.”

Since the College of DuPage board of trustees awarded the buyout, Tribune investigations also have raised concerns about financial oversight at the publicly funded school, including hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by top administrators at a high-end campus restaurant and contracts awarded to donors. Documents related to those issues — as well Breuder’s severance deal — have been subpoenaed as part of a sweeping federal investigation of the school, the state’s second-largest provider of higher education.

In light of those controversies, legislators have filed numerous bills aimed at punishing the school and preventing other taxing bodies from approving similar buyouts. The state House last week voted unanimously to authorize a sweeping, state-run audit of the college, which receives about $108 million annually from local property taxes and $57 million from the state.

Matt Berry, a spokesman with the Illinois Community College Board, said colleges already are required to hire an external auditing firm to review the schools each year. He also said the colleges are accountable to the public because they are overseen by elected officials.

At College of DuPage, voters chose three new trustees last month and shifted the balance of power on the board after months of turmoil. ( none have any experience running anything)

“Decisions being made are made by elected officials that are accountable to voters in those districts and are not being made in isolation,” Berry said. “At COD, the voters saw what was going on and responded.”

 The report’s findings will do little to help Illinois’ community colleges and public universities as they battle against massive cuts in state funding. Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed slashing higher education funding by 31.5 percent, leaving lawmakers to weigh how much of a hardship that would be for institutions that can afford to pay for their top executives’ cars and homes.

In addition to highlighting the compensation packages, the report also takes aim at the “skyrocketing” number of administrators at the public schools as tuition and fees have increased.

“This points to a real problem throughout our university program. That piece has really driven up costs at the universities and has resulted in tuition and fee increases for students,” Cunningham said. “When you break down these numbers, they are clearly indicative of a trend of bloated administration.”

In fiscal year 2011, the state’s nine public universities averaged 45 students for every administrator, according to the report. Chicago State University that year had the highest administrator-to-student ratio — 18 to 1 — almost identical to its faculty-to-student ratio. Chicago State spokesman Thomas Wogan explained that the university counts more employees as administrators than at other campuses, and said that administrative ranks have been reduced in recent years.

At the University of Illinois, which has about 30 students for every administrator, new President Timothy Killeen has said there could be cuts in administration.

“We will look at administration first as a place to look for potential savings,” he said. ( but, none will happen)

sstclair@tribpub.com

jscohen@tribpub.com

Twitter @higherednews

Twitter @stacystclair

Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune
 Then there’s the pensions.

15. Lou Henson

Title: Head Basketball Coach
Employer: U of I
Annual Pension: $336,950
Pension Collected to Date: $3.37 million
Employee Contributions: $300,266
Highest Annual Earnings: $401,287
Estimated Lifetime Pension Payout: $3.70 million
Percent Contributed to Estimated Lifetime Payout: 8.1%
Years Retired: 20
Age at Retirement: 64
Years of Employment: 32

Please note, Mr. Henson has collected $3.37 million in pensions. If you google the top 50 pensions for retired university personnel in Illinois he’s #15. So, the state of Illinois goes bankrupt, students begin life with $100K in student loan payments, parents mortgage houses, and nothing changes.

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