- Associated Press - Saturday, July 18, 2015

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (AP) - University of Louisville trustees scaled back a merit raise for school President James Ramsey, whose million-dollar-plus compensation has drawn criticism from some trustees and faculty.

The school’s Board of Trustees did recommend that the UofL Foundation give Ramsey a 25 percent bonus, or about $150,000, for meeting most of his goals, The Courier-Journal (https://cjky.it/1I94co2 ) reported.

Trustees voted 12-4 on Friday to raise Ramsey’s base compensation of $624,000 by 3 percent - half the recommended amount.

The Louisville newspaper says Ramsey will make $1.67 million this year. It says a revised report from a consultant indicated that Ramsey made $2.5 million in 2014. Ramsey disputed the consultant’s report on his compensation but declined comment on whether he’ll accept the merit raise.

“I don’t make $2.5 million a year,” he said. “You’re lying.”

The vote followed a heated debate at the board’s annual retreat, at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park.

Trustee Craig Greenberg called Ramsey’s pay “unfathomable” and said he is paid more like “a Wall Street banker than a public university president.”

Emily Bingham, another trustee, said the proposed increase was destroying the morale of faculty, who are getting a 3 percent increase, on average, this year. Trustee Steve Wilson said he has been approached by “people on the street who are enraged about giving him 6 percent when he is already highly paid. This is a public institution.”

But Trustee Jody Prather called Ramsey an “18-hour-a-day guy” and said he’s done a “stupendous job.” Ron Butt, another trustee, noted Ramsey has brought in millions of dollars to the school, offsetting state budget cuts, and is “highly respected and sought after.”

Prather, though, did call for the reduced merit pay increase and for a slight reduction in Ramsey’s bonus.

Board Chairman Dr. Robert Hughes said he voted against the smaller merit raise because he thought Ramsey deserved the full increase.

“There is no doubt Dr. Ramsey is paid quite highly,” Hughes said. “The most important thing is the job he’s done.”

The compensation committee recommended the bonus and merit pay increases for Ramsey based on his accomplishments last year, when he met or exceeded 20 of 23 goals.

The Courier-Journal reported recently that Ramsey’s total pay last year, which it figured at $1.68 million, was 2 ½ times more than the average of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s other presidents and chancellors and three times as high as presidents at other urban metropolitan universities as well as at similar schools as identified by the Chronicle for Higher Education

The consultant, Mark Reilly of Chicago-based Verisight Inc., said in his report that Ramsey’s relatively high pay was based on his longevity and performance.

But faculty member Nancy Theriot, professor and chairwoman of UofL’s department of Women’s and Gender Studies, said: “Not only is President Ramsey getting way more compensation than he deserves, according to reports of comparable compensation, but faculty at UofL, especially in the College of Arts and Sciences, are getting way less.”

Most of Ramsey’s pay comes from the university foundation, of which Ramsey is also president.


Information from: The Courier-Journal, https://www.courier-journal.com

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