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Cali Owings, Published August 07 2013

All 10 ND college presidents to receive raises of between 3 and 5 percent

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – A representative group of the North Dakota Board of Higher Education decided pay raises Wednesday for all 10 North Dakota University System college and university presidents.

The special committee of board members Duaine Espegard and Kari Reichert, acting on instructions of the board, decided on raises of between 3 and 5 percent, more than six weeks after the full board initially planned to set pay increases.

The higher education board group approved a 4 percent raise for North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani, bumping his pay to $334,215. University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley – the highest paid president in the system – received a 3 percent boost, bringing his pay to $350,265.

The increases will be retroactive to July 1, the first day of the fiscal calendar for the system.

“We were playing catch-up today,” said acting university system Chancellor Larry Skogen.

The board was scheduled to approve presidential salaries on June 20, but controversy surrounding ex-Chancellor Hamid Shirvani prompted the board to delay its decision.

In one of his last acts as chancellor, Shirvani evaluated all of the presidents. He recommended no pay increases for Kelley and Minot State University President David Fuller.

The board decided it wasn’t “appropriate” for the outgoing chancellor to have conducted the evaluations, so the presidents were given an opportunity to be re-evaluated by Skogen.

Skogen, also the president of Bismarck State College, gave largely favorable reviews to the four presidents who requested a second look – Kelley, Fuller, Bresciani and John Richman, president of the North Dakota State College of Science.

Skogen presented presidential pay options to the full board last week, but board members deferred action to a two-person committee of Espegard and Reichert.

Reichert and Espegard decided to distribute pay increases based on where presidents’ salaries were at compared to board-approved salary ranges for 2012-13.

For example, the ranges suggest the presidents of the state’s two public research universities should make between $297,000 and $392,700, ideally hitting somewhere around $344,900 – the midpoint. Reichert and Espegard calculated how far away from the midpoint college presidents’ current salaries were and allocated raises based on that difference.

Those closest to the midpoint were given 3 percent raises, while those farthest away received 5 percent.

Mayville State University President Gary Hagen and Valley City State University President Steve Shirley both received raises of 5 percent, bringing their salaries to $184,938 and $188,088, respectively.

The board wanted to keep the pay increases in line with the state Legislature-approved pay increase for all public employees of 4 percent.

“It’s not easy,” Espegard said during the meeting. “We try to be fair and try to pay what we’re supposed to pay.”

Other presidents receiving 3 percent raises were: Skogen, to $190,307; Fuller, to $211,704; D.C. Coston, Dickinson State University, to $211,480; and Richman, to $190,307.

Receiving 4 percent raises were: Doug Darling, Lake Region State College, to $170,560; and Ray Nadolny, Williston State College, to $174,570.