The University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents unanimously voted on Friday to eliminate bonus pay for future chancellors and renegotiate any current compensation packages that use bonuses.
The policy change, which the board passed at its first meeting of the 2016-17 year at Towson University, comes after the board received public backlash for awarding USM Chancellor Robert Caret a $75,000 bonus in June in his first year as chancellor. Caret oversees the 12-campus, $5.1 billion university system.
Board Chairman James T. Brady and Caret appeared before a pair of Maryland General Assembly subcommittees in a late-August hearing to discuss how the bonus was determined. Brady announced his intention then to have the board end bonus pay.
Along with the $75,000 one-time bonus, the board also gave Caret a $30,000 raise to his $600,000 base salary over the summer. Caret’s compensation package also currently includes a mansion in Pikesville, a car with a driver and $53,000 in yearly contributions to a retirement fund.
Brady told a board committee earlier this week that “the idea is not to reduce the chancellor’s compensation, but to change the components of it,” according to the Daily Record.
Along with the Attorney General’s Office of Maryland, the Board of Regents will work in the coming months to determine the best way to reconfigure Caret’s total compensation, system spokesman Mike Lurie said.
In front of state lawmakers in late-August, Brady defended the chancellor’s pay while acknowledging there was public confusion about the arrangement. He said the overall package is competitive with what Caret received previously as chancellor of the University of Massachusetts system. Caret earned more than $700,000 in total compensation at UMass, making him the 22nd highest paid chancellor in the country, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The passed policy change also stated that the board would immediately announce any compensation decisions to the public in the future after they are decided in closed meetings.
The old system waited for someone to request that information before making it available.