(Updated 3:31 p.m.) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who spearheaded the consolidation of the four state universities and community colleges under the Board of Regents, said he was “disappointed” and “angered” to learn of the raises for 22 of its top executives.
Malloy and his staff said they became aware of the raises when they received a phone call from a reporter asking for comment.
But if the higher education system had fully transitioned to the CORE-CT computer system, then presumably Malloy’s budget office would have had to approve the wage increases.
CORE-CT is the human resources and financial computer systems that handles everything from payroll, time, and attendance to worker’s compensation and accounts payable.
Asked Wednesday about whether his budget office knew, Malloy replied: “I don’t have an answer to that to tell you the truth.”
He said the higher education systems were not required to be on the CORE-CT computer system until he became governor and he would work on getting an answer.
Andrew Doba, Malloy’s spokesman, said because the Board of Regents is an independent body none of the salary adjustments for the Board of Regents staff would have gone through the governor’s budget office.
“The president may employ staff as is deemed necessary, including, but not limited to, temporary assistants and consultants. The board shall establish terms and conditions of employment of its staff, prescribe their duties and fix the compensation of its professional and technical personnel,” he said reading directly from the legislation creating the board.
In the meantime, Malloy talked about why he was disappointed in the Board of Regents, which he believes has done wonderful things since it was created during his first year in office. That includes finding $5.5 million in savings and using it to fund 47 teaching positions, opening up three manufacturing centers at the community colleges, and investment in the campuses.
“Fantastic work,” Malloy said. “Then they go and screw it up and I’m not happy.”
Malloy’s office was slow to comment on the salary increases, saying that the 15-member Board of Regents, where nine of the members are appointed by the governor, is an independent body.
Malloy said if he had left the higher education system the way it was, it left him open to criticism that he just wants to control everything.
“Now, you’re saying ‘see you didn’t control everything,’” Malloy said. “I never had a desire to control everything. Educational institutions need to operate independently as part of our core definition of educational institutions in America.”
“Having said that, this problem was easily avoidable and they didn’t avoid it and I’m annoyed. Quite annoyed,” Malloy said.
After news reports of the $48,000 raise given to the executive vice president of the Board of Regents, the chairman and the president of the board issued a press release saying that individual has decided to forego the raise.
But he wasn’t the only one to receive a substantial raise for an increase in responsibilities.
Twenty-one other executives received wage increases that ranged from $5,000 to $48,000 a year.
At the high end, Eastern Connecticut State University President Elsa Nunez received a $48,000 pay increase on top of her $320,000 salary when she was named vice president of the regents overseeing the former Connecticut State University system. Norwalk Community College President David Levinson also received a $48,000 raise on top of his approximately $204,000 salary when he was named vice president of the regents overseeing the former Community College system.
Board of Regents President Robert Kennedy, whose last job was as president of the University of Maine, has said he made a mistake in approving the raises and was unaware they required approval of the appointed 15-member board.
The Board of Regents is expected to review the pay increases in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, lawmakers in charge of overseeing the Board of Regents are on their own fact checking missions.