A look into a USF president’s contract

Dr. Steven Currall was unanimously selected as the next system president by the BOT on Friday. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

Following the appointment of Steven Currall, USF’s next and seventh president, the Board of Trustees (BOT) has some decisions to make about the framework of his contract.

In Friday’s BOT meeting, the trustees discussed some of the components in the contract but nothing can be finalized until the Board of Governors approve the appointment of Currall during their March 28 meeting in Tallahassee.

The BOT is responsible for determining the logistics of the president’s “compensation package” before his first day on July 1.

The contract is set for five years — July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2024 — and will be reviewed on an annual basis. Currall’s contract will be similarly modeled to System President, Judy Genshaft’s.

The BOT is responsible for providing housing arrangements for Currall and his family. This compensation will likely be a housing allowance for a 3,500 to 4,500-square-foot home off campus.

A $100,000 relocation allotment will be provided for moving trucks, a down payment, selling his current house or however Currall chooses to use the compensation.

Along with housing, the BOT will provide a $1,000 monthly automobile allowance. Other forms of compensation provided are membership dues or fees and university-related entertainment and travel.

Currall will be eligible for a “performance based compensation” which has to be determined by Dec.15 annually. This means that the president could earn a $200,000 to $300,000 bonus.

Genshaft earned a $210,000 performance-based stipend during the 2017-18 fiscal year.

USF General Counsel Gerard Solis spoke to the BOT about “better articulated” items in the new contract.

“There are certain provisions in the contract where a percentage of the base salary will be deposited into an account for profit and loss,” Solis said. “If the president retains the position for a full five years, then he or she will get the benefits of that account.”

According to Solis and the contract, Currall could not finish his term due to resignation, illegitimacy, illness or death.

The contract also sets specific dates that benchmarks need to be met.

On August 15, Currall will be have to provide a list of proposed goals and objectives based upon the “university’s strategic plan.”

Currall’s compensation is being determined from data collected from the Chronicle of Higher Education database and the base salaries of presidents from six Florida universities — University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University.

Genshaft’s base salary based on data collected in 2016-17 was $493,500. In March of 2017, her compensation package totaled $924,547.

Solis said $200,000 of state funding is eligible to go toward the president’s salary under Florida law.

Since USF is a public university with research accreditation and a medical schools on campus, Currall could earn approximately $671,000. Along with performanced based assessments, retention rates and outside benefits, he has the opportunity to earn $1 million to $1.1 million.

In 2017, Genshaft was named in the nation’s top-10 highest-paid presidents at public universities by the Chronicle of Higher Education for her $1.2 million salary.

Although there has not been a new president in 19 years, BOT Chair Brian Lamb said the contract still stands.

“This is a consistent framework that we have seen for a number of years with our existing president,” Lamb said in Friday’s BOT meeting.