Private money will no longer supplement chancellors' salaries

The Associated Press State & Local Wire
September 16, 2004

COLUMBIA, Mo: Private money will no longer be used to supplement chancellors' salaries after the public and several lawmakers objected to the practice, the president of the four-campus University of Missouri system said Thursday.

Elson S. Floyd said chancellor salaries for the coming year will be paid entirely out of general operating funds. He also announced Thursday that each chancellor will receive a 2 percent pay increase, bringing their salaries to $255,000 each.

"Using private donations for chancellor salaries was the correct course of action and was immensely helpful during these hard economic times," Floyd said in a statement. "However, public reaction to the use of private donations has been mixed, with some maintaining that public accountability was being compromised, compounded by the fact that many donors prefer to remain unnamed."

The announcement was a reversal for Floyd, who said during the summer of 2003 that he would seek private contributions to raise the annual pay for all four of the university's chancellors to $250,000. Floyd said the system must offer higher salaries to draw and keep high-caliber chancellors.

Out of its own money, the university paid the Rolla, St. Louis and Kansas City chancellors $200,000 and the Columbia chancellor $234,000. Floyd asked leaders of advisory groups at the Rolla, St. Louis and Kansas City campuses to come up with $50,000 apiece for the chancellors' salaries.

The donors included a collection of well-known companies, including utility Southwestern Bell and St. Louis-based brokerage Edward Jones. High profile individuals such as Gary Forsee, Sprint Corp.'s chairman and chief executive officer, also contributed.

The gap in Columbia was made up by internal donated funds.

But the fact that Floyd initially promised the donors anonymity bothered some lawmakers. Under legislation passed this spring, the sources of public university chancellors' salaries must be made public.

"I thought the public has a right to know who is contributing to the salaries of chancellors at public institutions because there is a lot of research done at the University of Missouri, and it's important to disclose that information to the public so we know there is no conflict of interest in the funding of the chancellors' salaries," said Sen. Sarah Steelman, R-Rolla.

Steelman, a candidate for state treasurer sponsored the legislation. Some donors who were willing to have their identities released last year after the information was requested didn't want to do so on an ongoing basis, said university spokesman Joe Moore.

"There was a general sentiment expressed that if salaries were paid in part by anonymous donors that chancellors would not necessarily be accountable for the public, and we wanted to dispel that perception," Moore said.

More information on UT's leaders' private financing