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December 4, 2014

Board okays pay hikes for 7 University officers

The Board of Trustees compensation committee in a Dec. 3 teleconference meeting approved raises ranging from 3.7 percent to 7 percent for seven University officers, retroactive to the July 1 start of the 2015 fiscal year:

  • Patricia E. Beeson, senior vice chancellor and provost, $420,000, a 7 percent increase.
  • Jerome Cochran, executive vice chancellor, $532,500, a 3.9 percent increase.
  • B. Jean Ferketish, secretary of the Board of Trustees and assistant chancellor, $235,000, a 4.4 percent increase.
  • Arthur S. Levine, senior vice chancellor, Health Sciences, and dean of the School of Medicine, $847,500, a 3.7 percent increase.
  • Amy K. Marsh, chief investment officer, $447,500, a 5.3 percent increase.
  • Arthur G. Ramicone, chief financial officer, $387,000, a 3.9 percent increase.
  • P. Jerome Richey, general counsel, $380,000, a 4.1 percent increase.

Separately, because Ramicone will be assuming interim responsibilities for the business, auxiliary operations, facilities, public safety and human resource functions following Executive Vice Chancellor Cochran’s retirement at the end of this month, the committee approved a 3.4 percent salary adjustment for Ramicone, effective Jan. 1, 2015, to $400,000.

While salary decisions for most Pitt employees are made in summer after the state appropriation has been finalized and the University’s operating budget is set, officers’ salaries typically are not set until late in the calendar year.

Board of Trustees Chair Stephen R. Tritch, who chairs the compensation committee, said the delayed decision-making allows the committee to consider additional measures of University progress and the distribution of the salary increase pool before approving officers’ salaries, retroactive to the start of the fiscal year.

“We are responsible to ensure that this institution is capably led and that the officers of the University are appropriately compensated, remaining mindful of the academic culture, the metrics of the marketplace and the financial circumstances that we may face at any particular point in time,” Tritch said.

“This fiscal year was another important year and it was a period of exceptional progress for the University,” Tritch said, citing increased admissions applications, faculty and student achievements and a strong financial position. “Overall the financial conditions of the University remain very strong despite the strains associated with state and federal funding,” he said.

The University’s $1.97 billion FY15 operating budget included a 2.5 percent increase in the salary pool. The increase was allocated 1 percent for salary maintenance to employees with satisfactory performance and 1.5 percent for merit, market and equity awards. (See Aug. 28 University Times.)

In a prepared release, Tritch stated that the officers’ salary increase recommendations were clustered around the average FY15 faculty salary increase of 4 percent. “Within that average, 20 percent of the faculty salary received increases of more than 5 percent,” the release stated.

As is typical, a compensation consultant advised the committee. “Based on that consultant’s comparative assessments the committee noted that some of Pitt’s officer group lagged behind appropriate benchmarks, particularly given the seniority and demonstrated effectiveness of its members,” Tritch said.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, who recommended the officers’ salary increases, said he met with the compensation consultant and sought recommendations from Chancellor Emeritus Mark A. Nordenberg.

The committee took no action on Gallagher’s pay, which trustees initially set at $525,000 per year plus deferred annual payments of $100,000 that will vest if he remains in the position for five years. (See Feb. 20 University Times.)

—Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 47 Issue 8