Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Layoffs in Colleges, No Pay Cut for Leaders; ANALYSIS Legislators Are Dismayed That Those That Make the Big Bucks Aren't Making the First Sacrifice

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Layoffs in Colleges, No Pay Cut for Leaders; ANALYSIS Legislators Are Dismayed That Those That Make the Big Bucks Aren't Making the First Sacrifice

Article excerpt

Byline: WALTER C. JONES

ATLANTA - Last Monday's list of possible cuts at the state's 35 public colleges and universities contained 4,000 layoffs, enrollment caps and elimination of dozens of majors. Not listed was use of pay cuts.

Legislators said they were disappointed. Sen. Seth Harp, the chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committees Subcommittee on Higher Education, said leaders should make the first sacrifice.

Sen. John Douglas, secretary of the subcommittee, suggested that University of Georgia President Michael Adams give up his $125,000 salary supplement to his $600,000 base pay.

"I don't even make $125,000," said Douglas, R-Social Circle.

The head of the largest state agency outside of the University System, B.J. Walker, earned $164,000 last year at the Department of Human Resources. Gov. Sonny Perdue made less than $140,000.

Yet, more than 18 people at UGa alone make more than $200,000.

Chancellor Erroll Davis told the members of the House and Senate higher education subcommittees Wednesday that cutting pay wasn't an option because keeping senior people from leaving to other universities was a priority.

"One of the tenets of business is you pay people competitive wages," he said, noting that not only is his background the energy business rather than a career in academia, but that he also sits on the boards of two private universities that are actively poaching public colleges that cut pay.

Besides, the presidents of Georgia's public universities earn below comparable schools in the Southeast, he said.

"To suggest that because they make handsome salaries does not mean they are overpaid," he said.

TO CUT OR TO RAISE?

Legislators are facing two choices that are both politically unpopular, cutting education or raising taxes.

To see how unpopular cutting education might be, the subcommittees asked Davis for a list of cuts that would total $300 million, the amount of a tax increase Perdue is recommending. Davis's list was not to include tuition increases, only cuts.

Lawmakers learned quickly how unpopular cuts can be when the protests began. …

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