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Who’s No. 1? 

A roundup of pay to the state’s top college officials.

click to enlarge TOP PAY: Not counting the UAMS chancellor, UA President Alan Sugg would appear to be the most highly paid university chief in Arkansas, with $439, 170 in pay and deferred compensation.
  • TOP PAY: Not counting the UAMS chancellor, UA President Alan Sugg would appear to be the most highly paid university chief in Arkansas, with $439, 170 in pay and deferred compensation.

There has been some talk in the news media recently about the compensation of university presidents, one in particular. So the Arkansas Times asked the presidents and/or chancellors of all the public four-year institutions, as well as the presidents of the two university systems, about their compensation. We specifically asked for “the salary that is set by statute, bonuses and allowances (housing, automobile, etc.) given by governing boards, supplements from private sources such as university foundations, and any other compensation.”

A more detailed accounting is underway by the state Higher Education Department as a result of recent controversy over pay and bonuses extended to Lu Hardin, president of the University of Central Arkansas. The state's institutions are due to submit full reports to the department this week.

Here is the information provided to the Times by their offices. Some provided more than others. The information does not include health insurance and other benefits that are available to all employees of the institution.

Arkansas State University System and Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, the largest campus in the ASU system and the only four-year institution: Les Wyatt, president of the ASU System, has a line-item salary of $177,514, which is increased as authorized by statute by 25 percent to make total compensation of $221,892. Robert Potts, chancellor of Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, has a line-item salary of $164,963, which is increased as authorized by statute by 25 percent to make compensation of $206,203. Potts receives additional compensation from private funds of $20,000, making total compensation $226,203. Neither Wyatt nor Potts receives any bonuses. Both are provided housing and automobiles. Enrollment at Jonesboro in the fall of 2007 was 9,000. Enrollment in the ASU System, including Jonesboro, was 13,265.

Arkansas Tech University at Russellville: Robert C. Brown, president. Salary by statute is $158,078 and total compensation is $197,597, including the 25 percent above line-item that is authorized by state law. A housing allowance of $18,000 a year. A state-owned automobile for official use. “In 2006 the Arkansas Tech University Foundation independently established a deferred compensation plan for Dr. Brown's benefit in retirement. He has received no payments from this fund and may not do so until 2012. All funds included in this plan are strictly from private donations raised solely for this purpose, and the plan is not yet fully funded.” Enrollment is 6,446.

Henderson State University at Arkadelphia: Charles L. Welch, president. Line-item salary is $158,078 and total compensation is $185,000, including the 25 percent salary adjustment and deferred compensation. He's required to live in an on-campus residence; the university provides utilities, maintenance, housekeeping and landscaping. The university provides an automobile also. Deferred compensation of $10,000 a year is to be paid at the end of five years' service. The university pays the cost of membership in any civic organization he chooses to join; private funds may be used for this purpose, if available. Reimbursement is provided for entertaining on behalf of the university, both inside and outside the official residence (membership in the Little Rock Club, for example, and meals associated with official university functions). Both public and private funds may be used for this purpose. Enrollment is 3,118.

Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia: David Rankin, president. Salary is $172,140. SAU provides a car and a $15,600 housing allowance. A $25,000 expense account is provided by private sources. Enrollment is 2,733.

University of Arkansas System: B. Alan Sugg, president. Annual salary is $289,170 ($243,222 from state funds; $45,948 from the University of Arkansas Foundation). The university provides a house and an automobile. “At its meeting Jan. 30, 1998, the UA Board of Trustees publicly authorized the board chairman to request the University of Arkansas Foundation enter into a deferred compensation agreement with President Sugg. Per the board chairman's request, the foundation has made annual payments of private funds to a deferred compensation account for Sugg for the past 10 years. Most recently, in fiscal year 2007-08 the foundation provided $150,000 to that account. Any deferred compensation payment made for the president in 2008-09 and future years will be done so by public vote of the Board of Trustees.” Total enrollment in the UA System is 41,687.

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