Category Archives: Board of Regents for Higher Education

Trying To Get The Spelling Correct For State Education Job in Office Of Standards And Curriculum

by Categorized: Board of Regents for Higher Education Date:

For years, state education officials have been talking about the achievement gap and the need to increase the standards in the Connecticut public schools.

As such, some insiders were surprised recently when they saw an official email for a job opening in the state education department\’s Office of Standards, Curriculum, and Instruction. In the email, the words \”standards\’\’ and \”curriculum\’\’ are both spelled incorrectly twice.

The job, by the way, pays $117,000 to $149,000 per year, and applications are being accepted until May 15.

The email is as follows:

Subject: State of Connecticut – Job E-Alert Message
New Jobs Posted:

Rally Day: Students Plan Tuition Protest

by Categorized: Board of Regents for Higher Education, Education Date:

With tuition set to rise by about 5 percent next year in the state college and university system, students say they will speak up today at the capitol with a protest planned for today at noon at the capitol.

Since 2000, tuition and fees at state universities and community colleges has more than doubled. According to the College Scorecard set up by the White House, the average student at Eastern Connecticut State University will graduate with about $16,250 in loans. (You can plug in any school on this site, by the way, to get an estimate of possible debt.)


House Votes To Require Higher Ed President To Be Appointed By Board

by Categorized: Board of Regents for Higher Education, Brendan Sharkey, Democrats, Gov. Dannel Malloy Date:

Prompted by major controversy regarding the Board of Regents for higher education, the state House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Wednesday for a bipartisan bill that would require the board president to be appointed by the board – reducing the role of the governor.

\"bdThe bill was related directly to the case of Robert Kennedy, the high-profile president who left the board after a series of controversies about salaries and perks that made front-page headlines. Kennedy was Gov. Dannel P. Malloy\’s handpicked choice for the presidency, and Malloy introduced him at the announcement in 2011 as the interim president at a salary of $340,000 per year, plus a $25,000 performance-based bonus. That contract represented a jump in pay for Kennedy, who had been earning about $220,000 per year as president of the University of Maine. Continue reading

State Officials Concerned About Federal Budget Cuts As Friday Deadline Draws Near

by Categorized: Board of Regents for Higher Education, Brendan Sharkey, Democrats, John McKinney, President Obama Date:

Defense contractors, airline travelers, National Guard members, and even college officials are concerned about the possible impacts of federal budget cuts that could impact Connecticut.

The state\’s Congressional delegation and top leaders in Washington are hoping for an eventual deal to avoid the brunt of the automatic spending cuts that will start Friday after Congress failed Thursday to reach a solution to block the budget-cutting process known as \”sequestration.\’\’ Continue reading

Legislators Concerned About Too Much Money Going To UConn And Not CT State University

by Categorized: Board of Regents for Higher Education, Gov. Dannel Malloy Date:

Two influential Democratic legislators said Thursday that they are concerned that the legislature might be prone to giving too much money to the University of Connecticut at the expense of the Connecticut State University system.

The issue came up during the daily hearings of the budget-writing appropriations committee, which on Thursday morning was analyzing the budgets of the Office of Higher Education, UConn, and the Board of Regents for Higher Education.

State Rep. Roberta Willis, a Litchfield County Democrat who is one of the most influential lawmakers on issues of higher education, said she is concerned that not enough money is going to the CSU system and the state\’s community colleges.

\”That is of great concern to me,\’\’ Willis said. \”It is the wrong message.\’\’ Continue reading

After Roy Occhiogrosso Departure, More Changes In Gov. Dannel Malloy\’s Office

by Categorized: Board of Regents for Higher Education, Gov. Dannel Malloy Date:

There are more changes in a reshuffling of the governor\’s office staff, including the departure of former state legislator Michael Christ.

The changes are being made following the announced departure of Roy Occhiogrosso, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy\’s senior adviser and a constant presence in the office for the past two years. Malloy said he worked virtually every day with Occhiogrosso over the past six years, dating back to his 2006 Democratic primary loss against New Haven Mayor John DeStefano. Continue reading

Departed Higher-Ed Chief Gives Back $25,000

by Categorized: Board of Regents for Higher Education Date:

Departed state Higher Education chief Robert Kennedy has sent back a $25,000 check to repay one of two payments he received in that amount from an unvouchered expense account he enjoyed as part of his lucrative contract – a deal that gave him more than $100,000 in extras beyond his annual base salary of $340,000 during the 13 months he was on the job,  such as bonuses and deferred compensation.

\"\"State Board of Regents spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan said in a Monday email that Kennedy, who resigned Oct. 12, had received the second $25,000 unvouchered expense payment in his Sept. 20 paycheck.  It was the second he had received since taking the job in Sept. 2011.

Flanagan said that Kennedy returned the money with this Oct. 15 note, which was headed \”returning business expense funds for 2012-2013\”: \”As a result of my employment termination, I am enclosing a personal check returning the \’business expense funds for 2012-2013\’ which were included in my 9/20/2012 paycheck as taxable income.\” Continue reading

Mike Meotti Steps Down From Board Of Regents; Received $48,000 Raise That Was Rescinded This Week

by Categorized: Board of Regents for Higher Education, General Assembly, Gov. Dannel Malloy Date:

In a move that would have been unthinkable only two weeks ago, executive vice president Michael Meotti has stepped down from the state\’s higher education system.

The announcement was made early Friday evening amid a tumultuous day that also saw the resignation of the system\’s president, Robert Kennedy. Meotti\’s departure came only days after it was publicly disclosed that he had received a raise of more than $48,000 at a time when many other state employees have been undergoing a wage freeze.

Meotti, a former Democratic state senator from Glastonbury who has since moved to West Hartford, has been earning more than $180,000 per year, and his raise pushed the level to more than $230,000 per year. The pay raise became effective in June, but few in state government knew about it until this week.

Meotti wrote to interim president Philip E. Austin that he did \”not want to be a distraction to the important change agenda across our seventeen colleges and universities.” Continue reading

Former UConn President Philip Austin To Replace Kennedy At Board of Regents; Chris Caruso Had Called For Austin\’s Resignation Over UConn 2000 Fire Code Violations

by Categorized: Board of Regents for Higher Education, General Assembly, Gov. Dannel Malloy Date:

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who handpicked Robert Kennedy of Maine to lead the state\’s new Board of Regents for higher education, is praising former UConn president Philip Austin as he replaces Kennedy. Kennedy abruptly stepped down Friday amid controversies over large pay raises to 21 staff members and after officials learned that he had been working remotely for six weeks this summer at his vacation home in Minnesota.

\"\"The board, moving quickly in an emergency meeting, recommended that Austin should serve as the interim president. Kennedy was being paid $340,000 per year under a five-year contract until he ran into a buzzsaw of controversy this week as both Democratic and Republican legislators called for his resignation.

“Dr. Austin is an outstanding choice by the Board of Regents.  His reputation is beyond reproach, and he will bring much needed stability to the Board of Regents central office the first day he walks in the door.  He’s also the right person to make sure the reforms that have started to be implemented continue,\’\’ Malloy said in a statement.

“He has substantial higher education experience and is well-known in Connecticut for the leadership and vision he executed during his eleven-year tenure as President of the University of Connecticut.  He was instrumental in overseeing implementation of the UConn 2000 and 21st Century UConn programs, and most recently served with the leadership of the UConn Health Center during a period of transition.\’\’

But Austin came under strong criticism in April 2006 when the state House of Representatives voted 145 – 0 for increased oversight in the UConn 2000 construction program, citing shoddy workmanship, mismanagement and cost overruns amid revelations of building and fire-code violations at student dormitories. At the peak of the controversy over the fire-code violations, firefighters were assigned to the two-year-old Charter Oak Suites dormitory for 24-hour monitoring.

The student newspaper, The Daily Campus, called for Austin\’s resignation in September 2005, saying he should have done more to prevent and correct the widespread code violations.

The governor\’s commission at the time, which was co-chaired by Democrat Jonathan Pelto, had called for a special committee to actively manage the day-to-day construction at UConn, but the legislature decided that a new, seven-member oversight committee would simply monitor the work.

Several House members said on the floor that they were dumbfounded at the depth and the breadth of the construction problems on the Storrs campus.

“UConn\’s finest and brightest were either asleep at the job or buried their heads in the sand,\’\’ said Rep. Steven Mikutel, a Griswold Democrat who described the situation as “an oversight meltdown\’\’ that needed to be corrected. “They have squandered the taxpayers\’ money.\’\’

Then-State Rep. Christopher Caruso, a Democrat who now works for the Malloy administration in Bridgeport, publicly called for Austin\’s resignation as he had served as the university\’s top official throughout the UConn 2000 construction. The university\’s trustees, however, continued to back Austin. During the behind-the-scenes squabbling over the bill in 2006, Caruso threatened to call for a resolution of the House for Austin and the board of trustees to resign. But he decided hours later not to call for the resolutions.

“I think we have to be a stronger watchdog on how this money is being spent and how it\’s being allocated and who is in charge,\’\’ Caruso said at the time. “My hope is this is a wake-up call for all of us. Thank God no students were hurt in those dormitories. … If there were, we would (be) discussing it differently today.\’\’

Continue reading

GOP Leaders Demand Kennedy Ouster

by Categorized: Board of Regents for Higher Education Date:

Two Republican legislative leaders are calling for the resignation of Robert Kennedy, the president of the Board for Regents for Higher Education after he improperly approved more than $250,000 in salary raises.

\"\"House Republican Leader Larry Cafero said Kennedy has bungled significant issues, outraging residents and legislators with high raises for board of regents\’ executive staff and causing chaos on community college campuses with a miscommunication to community college presidents.

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney also called for the resignation of Michael Meotti, executive vice president of the board, who received a $48,000 increase in salary, which he has since agreed to forgo.

Read Kathy Megan\’s story.

Check out the Jon Lender video below of Cafero asking why nobody was looking for the $340,000-a-year president of the Board of Regents all summer.