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Monday, January 24, 2022

Harker ranks as second-highest paid public college president

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Patrick T. Harker
University President Patrick Harker.

BY
STAFF REPORTER

University President Patrick Harker earned $850,982 last year, making him the nation’s second-highest paid public college president, tax records show.

Harker received $598,682 in base salary, a $100,000 bonus and other compensation of $152,300. The third category includes use of a university house and vehicle, personal services for the house, country club membership and other perks, university spokesman David Brond said.

He also received an additional $64,900 in deferred compensation, which he will receive upon retirement, and employee benefits, such as health care.

According to annual rankings published by The Chronicle of Higher Education, only one public college president, E. Gordon Gee, of Ohio State University, earned more than Harker in fiscal year 2009, which spans from July 2008 to June 2009. Including deferred compensation and benefits, Gee earned more than $1.5 million.

Brond said Harker’s salary and bonus are set each year by the Board of Trustees.

“He’s running nearly a $1 billion corporation,” Brond said. “Running that corporation takes a person of his caliber.”

The salary information was released as part of the university’s 990 tax form, on which universities and other tax-exempt organizations must list the salaries of their officers and key employees.

Due to a change in tax law this year, organizations were required to disclose more details about salaries and include compensation not previously included on the form, according to Paul Fain, a senior reporter at The Chronicle of Higher Education who helps compile the newspaper’s annual salary rankings.

Harker’s 2009 compensation was more than $100,000 greater than his 2008 compensation of $740,124, but both Fain and Brond said that does not necessarily mean he received a pay increase. Rather, the apparent increase is due to the fact that more of his compensation, such as club membership and house maintenance, are included in this year’s tax filings.

Harker’s base pay actually decreased from $640,124 to $598,682 and his bonus stayed the same. Brond said he could not explain why Harker’s base pay decreased.

“I think that’s just fluctuations,” he said. “I don’t know how to explain that. I think it’s just math. I don’t think he took a $40,000 pay cut.”

In the midst of a struggling national economy in January 2009, Harker did promise to take a 10 percent pay cut, but that did not go into effect until fiscal year 2010, for which salary information will not be released until May 2011.

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