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Regents approve pay packages

Lucrative deals are approved for two departing university officials.


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 15, 2001

[AP photo]
Adam Herbert speaks at his final Board of Regents meeting.
BOCA RATON -- The state Board of Regents may be going out of business soon, but it isn't being stingy on its way out the door.

In an unexpected move Wednesday, the regents approved pay packages for departing Florida A&M University President Frederick Humphries and university system Chancellor Adam Herbert.

Herbert, who was attending his last regents meeting before stepping down March 1, said the vote on the packages had been planned. But it wasn't on any board agenda. And Vice Chancellor Carl Blackwell said Herbert hadn't told him until Tuesday afternoon to start calling regents to inform them the pay deals would come up.

"We were hoping not to surprise anyone," Blackwell said. "But we weren't able to reach all of them."

The unusually swift action -- especially for the glacially paced regents, who are expected to be abolished during this year's legislative session -- raised no eyebrows on the board. The packages passed unanimously and with almost no discussion.

Herbert's agreement provides him with a $240,000 salary -- 90 percent of his current pay -- and the directorship of a public policy center at the University of North Florida, where he was president for 10 years. He has been chancellor for three years.

Humphries, FAMU's leader for 16 years, is getting a year's paid sabbatical, at least $140,000 in salary, a $50,000 expense account and the directorship of a science, research and policy center at the site of the new FAMU law school in Orlando.

As the St. Petersburg Times reported Wednesday, such arrangements are common in higher education, where retiring leaders often get second careers. Regents Chairman Tom Petway said very few people are qualified to serve as chancellors or university presidents, and a state would be foolish to let their talents escape to private industry.

"The competition for these kind of people is intense," Petway said. That requires the state to at least approach market prices for their services.

Herbert and Humphries bring another element to the table, Petway said: Both are African-American. In fact, they are the only black administrators in the top echelon of Florida's university system.

"We're fortunate that they are willing to stay," he said.

But the regents weren't done yet.

They also approved a new pay package for Judy Hample, Herbert's interim replacement. She received $206,000 annually as an executive vice chancellor. She will get $225,000 in her new job, plus a $20,000 housing allowance. Her job, to ease the transition from the regents to new university boards of trustees and an appointed state Board of Education, is unlikely to last more than a year.

Hample's staying despite the uncertainty surrounding the transition is a significant commitment, said Herbert, who recommended the pay increase.

But the presidents didn't walk away empty-handed. They were awarded raises averaging 2.5 percent, the same as that provided university system faculty.

Of course, the average faculty member makes about $55,000 for nine months' work. The average president makes close to $200,000 annually, not including housing and car allowances, and an annual 12 percent annuity.

University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft, who makes $232,000, was the only president who didn't get a raise. She has worked less than a year, which made her ineligible.

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