Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Golden Eggs

At a time when the national economy and the state budget are in crisis, the news coming out of James Madison University seems to send a very mixed signal. According to the Daily News-Record, JMU President Lynwood Rose received a pay raise of 16.9% this year. The increase of $66,000 brings his total salary with benefits to $456,287. Not included are are a large home and '08 Lincoln provided by the university or health insurance and retirement benefits provided by the state.
President Rose has done a fine job at JMU. According to officials, over $310,000 of that amount is funded by the JMU Foundation. University and college presidents make, and deserve, competitive salaries. The DNR article has details about college presidents' salaries at public and private schools around the commonwealth.
The problem is the perception. The perception is the problem. The Governor and General Assembly are trying to plug a $2.5 billion hole, that may get deeper, in the state budget. JMU has already cut $5.4 million from its budget. For President Rose to receive such a disproportionate pay hike sends the wrong message to everyone - JMU students and parents; JMU faculty and staff, especially those who may lose jobs; donors to the JMU Foundation; the entire community; and to every taxpayer.
President Rose found a goose that laid golden eggs. Perhaps he should consider not taking all of those eggs - at least for now.

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