Genshaft pay raise a near certainty

With USF President Judy Genshaft’s contract set to expire at the end of 2007, the Board of Trustees Compensation Committee met to discuss her future salary Tuesday.

According to the report compiled by outside consulting group ML Strategies, LLC, USF boasts the State University System’s second largest student body, with 44,038 full-time enrolled students and an operating budget of $1.6 billion.

Genshaft is currently ranked fourth in pay among her Florida peers. However, if the BOT adopts the numbers proposed by the Compensation Committee, this is set to change.

Under the proposed contract, Genshaft’s maximum possible salary would increase from $486,251 to $541,475 annually. This total does not include a $300,000 incentive aimed at retaining Genshaft for the duration of her five-year contract.

Citing an increasingly competitive marketplace and statistics stating 40 percent of the nation’s university presidents are over the age of 60, the committee added the incentive, which would pay $150,000 at the end of the contract’s third year and an additional $150,000 at the completion of the fifth year.

“I want her to be at a level that we don’t have to worry about someone coming in and taking her away from us,” trustee Debbie Sembler said. “With the market the way it is, I think we need to come up with a pretty spectacular package for her.”

The proposal would give Genshaft a $375,000 base salary with around $86,475 in retirement and differed compensation. The remaining $100,000, which is not guaranteed, would be in the form of bonuses based on the achievement of goals set at the beginning of every fiscal year. Under the plan, Genshaft would only receive the full $100,000 if she exceeded the annual goals set by the BOT.

“I like the idea of a raise; I like the idea of a performance bonus and working (with the Compensation Committee),” said Compensation Committee Chair John Ramil said.

According to ML Strategies Vice President for Higher Education Raymond Cotton, Genshaft is a good fit for USF because she is comparatively young and has advanced from the position of professor, eventually becoming a university president.

“You have a person here who really understands what it’s like to be in the classroom because she was in the classroom,” Cotton said. “You have a person … who has come from the faculty and has a track record of being good with the faculty.”

Though most present expressed satisfaction with the final proposal, faculty union President Roy Weatherford voiced his concern about the lack of faculty input in the process.

“I didn’t come here to criticize the president personally,” Weatherford said. “But when the consultant said that she communicates well with the faculty, I don’t think he has any empirical evidence of that and I don’t think that (the Committee does) either. Perhaps you should have consulted with the people she should be communicating with before coming to that conclusion.”

If approved, the new contract would mark Genshaft’s third raise since she replaced Betty Castor in 2000.