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Rell Calls CSUS Execs Pay Hike “Intolerable”

Pay raises for a few top executives in the Connecticut State University System has caught the attention — and the wrath– of Gov. Jodi Rell.

Ealier this week, Rell call on the Board of Trustees for CSUS to rescind so-called “pay equity” raises that increased salaries by 10 percent or more for the CSUS chancellor and university presidents, including a former president who is on leave and her recently hired interim replacement.

The CSUS Board of Trustees met earlier this month to affirm raises for non-union managerial employees that took effect June 18 and the increases included the third step of “pay equity” program for high-ranking administrators. That resulted in net salary increases of 8 percent for more than two dozen CSUS officials and 10 percent or more for the chancellor and university presidents – including former Southern Connecticut State University President Cheryl Norton and her interim successor.

Rell expressed her disbelief of such a hike, given the economic climate punctuated with job losses in the state.

“Frankly, I am at a loss to understand why, in these difficult times, the trustees would approve salary increases of as much as 8 percent, 10 percent or 10.27 percent for people who are paid between $285,000 and $360,000 a year,” Rell wrote in a letter on Friday to CSU Board of Trustees Chairman Karl J. Krapek. “How can anyone justify these increases to Connecticut’s taxpayers, to our students or to their parents at a time when tens of thousand of jobs have been lost in our state and countless families are struggling to make ends meet?”

Governor Rell asked the CSUS trustees to rescind all “pay equity” increases and to give no pay increase “of any kind” for former SCSU President Norton or her replacement.

The Governor called the increases “intolerable” and noted that the annual financial impact of the salary increases for the chancellor and the university presidents (including former President Norton) alone is $186,702 – the equivalent of tuition and fees for 23 full-time students.

She also noted that the CSU system experienced the largest increase in tuition and fees – 35 percent – over the last five years of the three public higher education systems. CSUS students now pay more than $8,000 compared to $5,936.

As a result, the Governor is:

  • Forming a panel to develop a plan to eliminate the CSUS central office, consolidating the offices of the four campus presidents and achieving other administrative savings. The plan must be submitted to the Legislature and the Governor by December 1;
  • Directing the Office of Policy and Management to work with the Department of Administrative Services to draft legislation that will bring employment functions of all three public higher education systems under the State Personnel Act for more transparency and accountability. The goal is to include all hiring, dismissals, pay and other matters in the CORE-CT system.
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