Friday, May 22, 2015 12:01 AM Last Updated: Friday, January 15, 2016 10:42 AM
Report details compensation abuses, administrative bloat at state colleges and universities: Cunningham
Months of work by members of the media and the Illinois General Assembly have culminated in a special report detailing costly administrative practices at our state’s public universities and community colleges. The report brings to light growing administrative costs and generous executive compensation packages that have helped fuel tuition increases for Illinois students.
"This report found that many public colleges and universities have been too quick to award lavish benefits to their executives and increase the number of administrative employees they assign to non-instructional post," State Senator Bill Cunningham said. "While these practices are never welcome, they are particularly troubling during difficult budgetary times and when college tuition rates have grown faster than any other expenses faced by middle class families."
The initial draft report was issued by Senator Cunningham, who chairs the Illinois State Senate’s Higher Education Sub-committee on Executive Compensation. According to the report, presidents at public universities in Illinois often receive cash bonuses, country club memberships, and housing and vehicle allowances, this despite enjoying a median salary of nearly $300,000 a year.
“When you look at the numbers in this report, they indicate a trend of bloated administrations at our public universities and community colleges. If the General Assembly is going to invest more in higher education, we want to insure those investments are going directly into the classroom and not to more administration,” Senator Cunningham continued.
The special sub-committee was assembled and began work after a series of media reports detailing questionable contracts and severance packages for administrators at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn and at Illinois State University in Normal. The report covers public higher education institutions across the state and found similar instances of opaque negotiations, contract extensions approved without discussions and issues dealing with pensions, such as excessive sick-day buyouts.
The report goes on to explain possible reforms to limit these practices, including reforms to the Open Meetings Act as well as auditing reforms.
“I don’t think we are proposing anything too radical here. I think it’s mostly commonsense reforms that we are seeking here. Over the summer, we will have a series of hearings to take a closer look at the report and discuss proposed reforms,” Senator Cunningham said.
In February, Illinois State Senator Bill Cunningham and the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus requested compensation data and employment contracts for selected administrative positions from all nine public universities and 46 community colleges in Illinois for 2005 through 2015.The draft report can be found here:
Senate Democratic Caucus Draft Report
on Executive Compensation at
Illinois Higher Education Institutions