The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a bill that would require a report on the salaries of administrators at the state\’s public colleges and universities.
The 125-19 vote on House Bill 6491 capped about a half-hour of debate. It comes after revelations of lavish salaries enjoyed by some former public university administrators, notably University of Connecticut Police Chief Robert Hudd, who earned $255,848 before he retired two years ago.
Supporters say the report will help determine whether administrative salaries at UConn, the state university system and the community colleges are in line with those at peer institutions.
The report will be used to make decisions \”and to hold our schools accountable and ensure that our students needs are being met first and that costs are being kept down,\” said Rep. Roberta Willis, a Democrat from Lakeville and co-chair of the legislature\’s higher education committee.
Critics call it \”feel good\” legislation that would do nothing to contain exorbitant administrative salaries.
\”We\’re going to get a report comparing the adminiustrative salaries of our higher education institutions with those of peer institutions throughout the country. Big deal,\’\’ said Rep. Larry Cafero, the Republican leader in the House.
The legislature allocates money for public higher education institutions in the state but has no control over individual line items such as salaries, Cafero noted. \”That\’s it. There ain\’t a darn thing we can do about it if our board of trustees are not forced to use that study as some sort of guideline.\”
The bill, which now moves to the state Senate for consideration, would require the UConn board of trustees to compare salaries at the school to its peer institutions, which include Ohio State, Rutgers, Purdue and the University of Georgia.
The board of regents for higher education, which oversees the Connecticut State University System, would report on the salaries of that system\’s peers: Montclair State in New Jersey, Southern Illinois, and the University of Southern Maine, among others.
Rep. Steve Mikutel, a Democrat from Griswold, said he backed the bill because it could uncover \”administrative bloat\” at the publicly funded institutions.
Mikutel cited the case of Hudd, and his deputy, Maj. Ronald Blicher, who also earned over $200,000 before retiring in 2011. The extraordinary salaries of Hudd and Blicher were first disclosed by Courant investigative reporter Jon Lender.
\”If that\’s not administrative bloat, I don\’t know what is,\’\’ Mikutel said. \”There\’s a problem there…that is an indication that the board of trustees or whoever is responsible for controlling administrative salaries at these institutions, they\’re not doing their jobs, plain and simple.\”