Sen. Boucher: Release the List

December 4, 2013

Hartford, CT – State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) ranking member of the Higher Education Committee released the following statement today re: the governing board of the Board of Regents for Higher Education’s lack of transparency in awarding pay raises to Regent’s administration and top officials.

“I am calling on the governing board of the Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) to release the list of raises they approved last week. Pay raises in and of themselves are not personnel evaluations and are subject to public review. This is another example of the administration’s lack of transparency. If the raises are warranted, there should be no reluctance to share the information.

“It is extremely disappointing to see pay increases of up to 6.5% for those at the top of the BOR when tuition and fees have been increased by 11% for students and parents. At the same time,
Community College Presidents are cutting library and computer lab hours, tutors and financial aid officers due to financial constraints.

“Some of the highest drivers of our future deficits are in growth of higher education wages, pension and fringe benefits. Some forecasts show that fringe benefits could add 75-100% of additional costs to the wages paid. The administration, as recently as last week, has publicly stated they need to do something about this cost driver, one of states highest. It should be noted that these higher wages add to the states pension liabilities. If not addressed soon, these obligations could become insolvent and put state employee pensions a risk.

“In addition, these raises will be retroactive. There are an estimated 279 employees who are eligible for raises, which will be retroactive to September 6th.

“The public has a right to know after the 27% pay raises – arbitrarily approved for staff by a former Regent President – which lead to his public resignation and an embarrassment for the newly constituted BOR. I would hope that given the sensitivity around compensation issues the administration would do all it can to disclose this information.”

“It is also clear that the Department of Administrative Services allowed the Board of Regents to award these raises at their own discretion. If the Regents do not disclose the amount of the raises and to whom they were given, then they are in violation of the freedom of information laws.

“Our students and our public deserve transparency.”