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January 11, 2001

Pitt senior officers' pay

Doing away with bonuses for Pitt senior officers, the Board of Trustees compensation committee on Dec. 7 raised Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg's salary to $325,000 this year.

Trustees also approved, at Nordenberg's recommendation, raises for seven other Pitt officers. See list on this page.

The new salaries are retroactive to July 1, the beginning of Pitt's fiscal year.

Nordenberg's new salary is 6.6 percent higher than his pay last year of $305,000, which included a $40,000 "performance/market adjustment," as Pitt trustees and administrators call the incentives.

Trustees had awarded performance/market bonuses to Nordenberg each year since 1997. Last year, at the chancellor's recommendation, trustees also gave bonuses to Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement Carol A. Carter ($10,000), Executive Vice Chancellor Jerome Cochran ($20,000) and Provost James Maher ($25,000).

But trustees said they won't award any more bonuses to Nordenberg and his team. Such incentives are no longer appropriate, board chairperson J.W.

Connolly said, now that the Nordenberg administration has established a strong track record.

"The past year again established all-time records for student applications, the academic credentials of entering students, private fundraising, research

support and total revenues," said Connolly, who also chairs the board's four-member compensation committee. "In addition, the University's facilities continue to be dramatically improved and Pitt is taking an increasingly prominent position in regional development.

Pitt senior officers' pay

Carol A. Carter, vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement

Current: $179,000

1999-2000: $172,000 (included $10,000 bonus)

Jerome Cochran, executive vice chancellor

Current: $237,500

1999-2000: $227,500 (included $20,000 bonus)

Robert E. Dunkelman, secretary of the corporation

Current: $139,000

1999-2000: $133,000

Arthur S. Levine, senior vice chancellor for Health Sciences & dean of the School of Medicine

Current: $537,000

1999-2000: $515,000

James V. Maher, senior vice chancellor & provost

Current: $253,500

1999-2000: $243,000 (included $25,000 bonus)

Amy K. Marsh, treasurer

Current: $150,000

1999-2000: $140,000

Mark A. Nordenberg, chancellor & chief executive officer

Current: $325,000

1999-2000: $305,000 (included $40,000 bonus)

Arthur G. Ramicone, vice chancellor for Budget and Controller

Current: $172,000

1999-2000: $152,000

"These accomplishments are a credit to everyone at the University, but there is no doubt in my mind that the driving force behind them has been creative and committed leadership."

While current Pitt officers won't receive future bonuses, their most recent ones were folded into their base salaries. Previously, the bonuses did not carry over from one year to the next. Thus, Nordenberg's new base salary of $325,000 is 22.6 percent more than his base salary of $265,000 last year.

The compensation committee met via a speakerphone hookup in 159 Cathedral of Learning. Committee members did not stay on the line to answer reporters' questions following the meeting.

But Nordenberg, who attended, said: "To me, the use of single-year performance payments probably was more appropriate as this administration began its work. It signaled that we would be focusing on particular objectives measured over a relatively compressed period of time. We have now been at this task for a number of years. The assessment of the leadership team can thus be more easily measured in performance and not just in potential."

Nordenberg said he recommended "somewhat larger than normal" raises for Arthur G. Ramicone, vice chancellor for Budget and Controller (13.2 percent) and Treasurer Amy K. Marsh (7.1 percent) because of the finance area's strong performance. Pitt's endowment and operating budget each exceed $1 billion, the chancellor noted.

The presidents of Pitt's University Senate and Staff Association Council (SAC) welcomed the elimination of bonuses for officers. They also said the new salaries are fair, given the Pitt administrators' responsibilities and job performances.

"I think it was a good idea to get rid of the bonus system," Senate President Nathan Hershey said. "It had an element of profit-sharing, and I don't think that's an appropriate concept to use at an educational institution. It may be appropriate in certain circumstances, but when you're doing it year after year….A lot of people thought it was inappropriate.

"Even building the bonus increments into the salary bases [of Carter, Cochran, Maher and Nordenberg] doesn't make their salaries out of line, given the responsibilities that go with their positions."

Hershey added that "there's a serious imbalance" in a society where Pitt's chancellor earns $325,000 a year and a baseball player — Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez — gets a guaranteed 10-year, $252 million contract.

SAC president Rich Colwell said he was "pleased to see that upper administration did not receive bonuses this year and are treated the same as all staff. Their salary increases are in line with those of staff who have also received performance/market adjustments in their base salary.

"I would also echo board chairperson J.W. Connolly's comments that Chancellor Nordenberg and his senior leadership team continue to spearhead the efforts that are moving our University to new heights of excellence."

Pitt's budget for faculty and staff salaries increased by 4.5 percent this year. Of that, 2 percent cost-of-living raises were awarded to personnel judged to have done satisfactory work. Another 2 percent was allocated for merit, market and equity adjustments. Provost Maher and Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Arthur S. Levine distributed the remaining 0.5 percent to targeted areas to meet merit and market needs.

— Bruce Steele

Filed under: Feature,Volume 33 Issue 9

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