- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 19, 2003

The University of the District of Columbia board of trustees has voted unanimously to give the school’s highest-paid administrators a 6.4 percent pay raise retroactive to October.

The raise, which must be authorized by the D.C. Council, would benefit the university’s nonunion employees, including the new executive management team recently brought aboard by UDC President William L. Pollard. The board recommended the pay increase late Tuesday.

Mr. Pollard, who became UDC president a year ago, was not available for comment yesterday. The pay raise would not apply to Mr. Pollard’s $200,000-a-year salary, the second-highest in the D.C. government.

UDC has 11 employees who earn more than $100,000 a year, and each of them would receive the 6.4 percent raise. Among them are recently hired Vice President for Public Safety Robert T. Robinson, who makes $128,095 a year, and Executive Vice President Ernest L. Jolly, who earns $131,080 a year.

Others who would benefit include Earl C. Cabbell, vice president for management, and Wilmer L. Johnson, acting vice president for academic affairs, who both earn $125,110 a year. University Counsel Robin C. Alexander, who earns $115,081 a year, also would receive a raise.

The pay increase also would benefit nonunion hourly employees, nonunion career service employees and nonunion education support staff.

UDC board Chairman Charles Ogletree Jr. did not return calls seeking comment. Board member Antoinette Mingo declined to comment, saying she was too busy to discuss the matter.

The total cost of the pay increase could not be determined yesterday.

The salary increase comes after faculty and staff rejected a 1 percent raise offer earlier this year.

“We are demoralized,” said Leslie Richards, president of the UDC Faculty Association, the employee union. She said faculty members were outraged to see a flock of new administrators getting pay raises while longtime employees have not had a cost-of-living adjustment since 1998.

The land-grant university has been plagued by financial turmoil and low morale. In the mid-1990s, it racked up a heavy deficit and nearly lost accreditation. University officials also have long been criticized for mismanagement and overspending.

The Washington Times reported in the fall that the university was spending less than half the national average for instruction and research for its undergraduate students. The university spends about $5,023 per student for instruction and research, which amounts to 41.7 percent of its $64 million budget, according to UDC financial records. The national average is $10,149 per student for instruction and research, according to the U.S. Department of Education, which calculates such spending as accounting for 56.8 percent of the average budget.

The Times also reported in the fall that 22 percent of graduates from UDC’s David A. Clarke School of Law pass the bar exam on the first try, well below the national average of 73 percent. Yet the law school spends nearly twice the national average on its students, even though it had not received full accreditation and was losing students.

The university administration has said that the pay and benefit package offered to the union earlier this year was worth closer to 3 percent and that union officials rejected it without making a counteroffer, opting to go straight to arbitration.

“A lot of people are upset,” said a staff member who has worked at the university for more than 15 years. “The people who are getting the raises are the people Pollard brought in. It ain’t going to the faculty and staff.”

Mike Andrews, communications director at UDC, said board decisions on nonunion salaries and pay negotiations with labor unions were like “apples and oranges.” Raises for nonunion administrators can be made unilaterally by the board, while union pay scales must be accepted by labor and management.

He said Mr. Pollard brought in the ranks of high-paid managers to execute a turnaround at the struggling university. “That’s why the infusion of new blood,” said Mr. Andrews, who is one of the president’s new hires who makes more than $100,000 a year and also would get the 6.4 percent raise.

UDC is the only public institution of higher education in the District. It was chartered in 1974 as an urban land-grant institution with an open admissions policy. As of 2002, the university had an enrollment of 5,300 students and a staff of 225 teachers, for a nearly 24-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

The Times first reported in April the proliferation in six-figure salaries in the D.C. government. The District, with 572,000 residents, has more city government workers earning $100,000-plus salaries than Chicago, , and Baltimore.

Of the District’s 34,000 city employees, 575 make more than $100,000 a year. In comparison, 419 of Chicago’s 40,000 city workers and 33 of Baltimore’s 15,000 city workers earn that much.

Bobby Goldwater, president of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, is the city’s highest-paid worker, earning $275,000 a year.

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