Board of Trustees debates raising president's salary

Some Board of Trustees members want to raise the University of Oregon president’s salary by almost $150,000 a year. Raising the president’s salary could bring in better candidates for the upcoming job search, but since lower-level staff salaries haven’t increased recently, that could be a hard sell.

The UO Board of Trustees’ Presidential Factors Committee met Friday, December 12 to discuss presidential compensation and performance.

“This meeting is like what happens in the last six miles of a marathon,” Ginevra Ralph, chair of the committee, said.

“We are way too low,” Connie Ballmer, the head of the Presidential Search Committee said. She suggested that increasing the presidential salary would help attract ideal candidates.

UO’s last President, Michael Gottfredson, was paid $444,004 with a $100,000 deferred compensation for each year worked, according to The Register Guard. According to Ballmer, the more preferable salary would be around $600,000.

The committee discussed creating incentives for the president, similar to bonuses in the corporate world. Incentives like bonuses or a vehicle stipend–possibly $1,200 a month for the UO president–wouldn’t necessarily be included in the presidential salary.

But other members of the committee pushed back against the recommendations. Susan Gary, faculty member of the Board of Trustees, said that salaries for the president and senior officers of administration have been rising, while “staff salaries have not.”

Gary and other members of the board pointed out that the UO’s presidential salary is in the median for its peer institutions.

The presidential search will officially begin in January and could be over as soon as April, but there is no definite timeline.

No final decisions were made during the meeting, and the committee is seeking more information from its search firm, Parker Executive Search.

“You’ve won the marathon,” Ralph said to the committee when the meeting came to an end.

The Presidential Factors Committee is comprised of Ginevra Ralph, Andrew Colas, Allyn Ford, Susan Gary and Ross Kari. Also in attendance on Friday was Ballmer and Chuck Lillis, chair of the Board of Trustees.

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Alexandra Wallachy

Alexandra Wallachy

Alex is a head correspondent at the Emerald focusing on higher education and student government. She is also a producer for the Emerald Podcast Network and a huge fan of the Daily Show.