Colleges and Universities and Purdue University and Education & Workforce Development

Daniels to receive large raise as Purdue president

June 27, 2012

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will receive a big pay raise when he leaves office in January and takes over as president of Purdue University, possibly earning more than five times as much salary.

A memorandum of understanding between Daniels and the university calls for a salary comparable to those earned by university presidents at peer institutions, as well as performance bonuses. Outgoing Purdue President France Cordova earns $465,000. Indiana University President Michael McRobbie earns $533,120, which IU spokesman Mark Land says put him roughly in the middle for pay among university presidents in the Big Ten.

Ohio State University President Gordon Gee is reported to be the highest paid university president, making nearly $2 million a year. That includes a base salary of $834,530, deferred annual compensation of $225,000, performance compensation of $143,179, a supplemental executive retirement plan of $616,635 and other employer retirement benefits of $100,500.

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman earns $585,783 a year. Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon earns $520,000 a year.

According to the state auditor's office, Daniels' annual salary is $95,000. With other compensation, he was paid nearly $108,000 last year.

Morris Levy, a biological sciences professor who just completed a term as University Senate chairman on June 1, says he has concerns about the 10-member board of trustees, eight of them appointed by Daniels, setting his salary.

"I believe the phrase 'conflict of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest' is the most accurate statement," he said.

Levy said faculty members will be watching closely to see what Daniels is paid, especially because he is expected to streamline costs at the university.

Levy said the university works to try to make everyone feel as though they are all on the same team.

"If we pay Mr. Daniels an extraordinary salary, it's going to be hard to make everyone feel that way under him," he said.

Daniels said last week he wanted the contract to be as performance-based as any in higher education.

"I think it just feels right to me to have a contract which incentivizes and rewards, or doesn't, a person in this job based on progress against important goals like the ones we talked about," he said.

The memorandum of understanding also specifies that Purdue will furnish and maintain a car for Daniels and provide a driver when needed. It also says it will provide him with a house and moving costs and will make contributions to his retirement plan and that he is eligible for benefits all Purdue employees receive. It also specifies that it will be a five-year contract.

Purdue spokesman Chris Sigurdson said there is no deadline for the two sides to reach a contract.

"Basically, they have until January. So there's quite a bit of time left," he said.

The memorandum of understanding had not yet been signed by board of trustees chairman Keith Krach. Sigurdson said that was simply a formality.

"There's nothing unresolved," he said.

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