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Florida college presidents score high on pay
Three of the 10 highest-paid public university presidents are in Florida. Among community colleges, it's five of the top 10.
By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER
Published November 12, 2007
Stuck in a salary rut? Itching to earn more pay, plus perks like a car allowance or expense account? A university or community college presidency in Florida might be just the job for you.
At a time when public university leaders here are lamenting state budget cuts and the effect on academic quality, an annual survey of the nation's public and private colleges finds a few of them are among the top earners in their field.
Three of the 10 highest-paid public university presidents for the 2006-07 year come from the Sunshine State, as do five of the 10 best-paid community college leaders, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education's compensation study, released Monday.
The University of Florida's Bernie Machen is No. 6 among the presidents of public four-year institutions with his nearly $727,000 annual package.
Next in line is T.K. Wetherell of Florida State, whose package is valued at $702,127 - though FSU officials point out Wetherell's base salary is lower than that of the presidents of smaller public Florida universities such as Florida Atlantic and Florida International.
They also dispute the Chronicle's inclusion of a three-year retention bonus, paid in one lump-sum last year, when calculating Wetherell's rank.
University of Central Florida president John Hitt ranks No. 9 on the Chronicle list, with $684,708.
And community colleges might be the less glamorous institutions in higher education, but it turns out the presidential pay can be downright Prada.
Carl Kuttler, longtime St. Petersburg College president, made $384,691 in pay and benefits last year, earning him a No. 5 rank. Right behind him was Hillsborough Community College president Gwendolyn Stephenson, with $365,577.
Alumni donations cover most of the state university presidents' salaries and benefits, because state law allows taxpayer dollars to cover only $225,000 per institution. For community colleges, there's no limit, and each board of trustees decides how much of the college's budget to set aside for salary and benefits.
Kuttler, a fixture at St. Petersburg College for more than four decades, said the size and growth of Florida's institutions is a factor in their leaders' pay. Miami-Dade College president Eduardo Padron, for example, oversees the largest higher education institution in the country - with eight campuses and several outreach centers serving some 165,000 students. Padron ranks second community college presidents, with annual compensation of $566,328.
Another explanation for the high pay is the lengthy tenure of some of the highest-paid leaders in Florida, where colleges tend to try and one-up each other every time one president gets a raise.
But Kuttler says he doesn't much care what he makes.
"If you ask me what I make, I can't tell you. Because it's not about the salary."
Who's on top
1. David P. Roselle, University of Delaware: $874,687
2. John T. Casteen III, University of Virginia: $753,762
3. Mark E. Emmert, University of Washington: $752,700
4. Mary Sue Coleman, University of Michigan system: $743,151
5. Mark G. Yudof, University of Texas system: $742,209
6. Bernie Machen, University of Florida: $726, 849
7. T.K. Wetherell, Florida State: $702, 127
8. Carl Patton, Georgia State: $701,524
9. John Hitt, University of Central Florida: $684,708
10. Charles Steger, Va. Tech: $681,434
1. Michael B. McCall, Kentucky CC system: $610,670
2. Eduardo J. Padron, Miami-Dade College: $566,328
3. Phillip R. Day Jr., City College-San Francisco: $403,441