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Now-retired MNSCU chancellor got $50,000 in performance pay in 2010

ST. PAUL The former chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system received $50,000 in performance pay for his work last year, once again raising the ire of union officials who represent rank-and-file employees. The decision t...

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ST. PAUL

The former chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system received $50,000 in performance pay for his work last year, once again raising the ire of union officials who represent rank-and-file employees.

The decision to give now-retired Chancellor James McCormick his performance pay was made by the Board of Trustees in June. But members left the amount to the discretion of chairman Scott Thiss, who announced Monday that McCormick received the full $50,000 allowed under the contract. McCormick's base salary was $360,000.

Thiss said McCormick worked diligently in his last year with MnSCU and met all of his performance goals. Those included leading an initiative to make applying, registering, transferring schools and paying bills much easier for students, as well as a program to grow and retain leaders within the MnSCU system.

"This is performance pay, not a bonus. It must be earned," Thiss said. "We had a very specific set of goals for the chancellor, and he met them."

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But union leaders who represent MnSCU employees say it's inappropriate in a time of tuition increases and job cuts.

Richard Kolodziejski, legislative affairs director for the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, or MAPE, said taxpayers don't want their money spent on bonuses -- they want it spent on education. He said it's particularly in poor taste given the stresses of the economy and the fact that some MnSCU employees don't even make $50,000 in a year.

"It's just reprehensible," Kolodziejski said. "These are times of shared sacrifice. And this isn't shared sacrifice by upper management and the MnSCU board."

Performance pay for the chancellor and college presidents has drawn sharp criticism from MAPE and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees since 2009. Last year, MAPE called on McCormick to give back his $40,000 performance bonus approved by trustees. He did not.

McCormick, 72, retired July 31 after 10 years at the helm of MnSCU. He was replaced by Steven Rosenstone, who came from the University of Minnesota, where he was vice president for scholarly and cultural affairs.

MnSCU comprises 31 state universities and community and technical colleges. It serves about 277,000 students each year in credit-based courses and another 157,000 in noncredit courses.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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