As the University of Saskatchewan prepares to make cuts to combat a projected deficit expected to reach $44.5-million by 2016, two former senior administrators remain on payroll.
Peter MacKinnon ended his term as president after serving 13 years last year but will be paid two more years of his $425,000 annual salary.
His contract included one year of paid administrative leave for every five years served. Over the two years of administrative leave, he will also receive $112,862 for compensations that include pension contributions and benefits.
Richard Florizone, former vice-president of finance and resources at the U of S, is currently on administrative leave with pay, receiving his $349,827 annual salary until April this year and $31,413 for compensations such as pension contributions and benefits.
Florizone was on leave when he accepted the position of president at Dalhousie University in Halifax in early November.
Associate Vice-President of Human Resources Barb Daigle said that senior administrators across the country normally receive one year of leave to do research and to pursue other academic interests after serving a five-year term. She said that presidents, like MacKinnon, often take their leave at the end of their term.
Administrators on leave, much like professors on sabbatical, are expected to do scholarly work that will benefit their academic careers, the university or the community. Then they must give a report of their activities upon full return to their positions.
The president’s salary is negotiated every year by the university’s board of governors. The board compares the salaries of presidents at the leading 15 research-intensive universities in Canada to decide on a competitive salary that is feasible for the U of S.
Top presidential salaries are beginning to break the $500,000 mark. Daigle said that the U of S has yet to “hit the target.”
President Ilene Busch-Vishniac’s starting salary is $400,000. MacKinnon’s salary when he began his term as president in 1999 was $200,000.
Jim Turk, president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, told the StarPhoenix that if an administrator at the University of Regina had accepted another position while on leave, their salary for that leave could be withdrawn, referencing Florizone accepting the position at Dalhousie University while on leave.
Turk said that senior university administrators’ salaries and contracts are “way out of line.”
About 10 to 20 years ago, university presidents and vice-presidents were often professors who went on leave from teaching, whereas now these roles are filled by career administrators who negotiate with their governing boards for leaves to be included in their contract, Turk said.
Daigle said that contracts with paid leaves and competitive salaries are necessary to attract candidates for the hard-to-fill senior administration position.
“We need to be competitive for these senior leaders, especially in these hard-to-recruit areas like the president, the provost and the vice-president of research,” Daigle said.
The limited number of candidates for senior admistrative positions at universities has resulted in highly competitive and high salaries, Daigle said.
Photos: U of S/Flickr
Raisa Pezderic/The Sheaf