February 6, 2016

UW Regents advance salary increase plan

The next president of the University of Wisconsin System could make almost $600,000 a year, under new salary ranges endorsed Thursday by the Board of Regents’ business committee. The full board will consider new pay scales for a number of top officials today, during a meeting at the UW-Parkside near Kenosha.

The panel also recommended the first pay raises in five years for 10of the 14 campus chancellors. They average 3.3 percent a year, and are applied under existing salary ranges. La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow would get the highest raise of about $10,500, increasing his salary to $210,000.

Many Republican leaders in state Legislature expressed some hesitation about increasing salaries, especially following revelations earlier this year that the UW System was sitting on $650 million in reserves. Most acknowledged that the system needs to remain competitive to attract top talent, although state Representative Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) accused the Board of Regents of being out of touch with the rest of the state. In a statement, Nass said “While Wisconsin families continue to struggle to pay their bills and contribute to college savings funds, the Board of Regents rolled-up their sleeves and made sure the UW System’s high level administrators will be able to easily afford an addition on their summer home or to pay cash for a new Lexus.”

Regent Gerald Whitburn says Wisconsin is getting a bargain compared to Ohio State and Penn State, where the top leaders make up to $3 million a year. Outgoing UW System President Kevin Reilly makes $418,000. The proposed new pay scale for his post would rise to between $399,000 and $598,000. Newly-hired chancellors at Madison and Eau Claire will not get raises, and neither will the Stevens Point and Colleges-and-Extension chancellors.

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